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On-line Acoustic Music Magazine

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temb er

Acoustic Monthly



A truly remarkable musician and singer/songwriter.

Luthier, musician & Philosopher.

If you are getting under the bright lights, remember to SEL. yourself. See page 11

Nigel takes a look at the Grand Concert

● Skinny Lister @ the Donkey. Carrie & Danny Look Out For…… Acoustic Featured And Lots, Lots More

Telephone 01530 260984

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e u s s i s i h t In 4 Welcome to the first ever issue of ! We are the first UK, Online based magazine dedicated to ALL acoustic Music. We will be sharing techniques, tips, tricks and reviews from instruments to accessories, starting this month with the . In every issue you will find interviews with top acoustic musicians and singer/songwriters, also music reviews and upcoming events. We take an in-depth look at performing and gigs with tips to help you along the way, this issue we look at Stage make-up with professional make up artist . We have really enjoyed making the first issue, and look forward to supplying the Acoustic Music Scene with a valuable reference in the future. If you feel there is something you could give, or would like to see in the magazine, feel free to email us here at Lastly, enjoy!

and their relevance

6 A truly remarkable musician and songwriter

11 Gives tips on make-up under the bright lights

13 Kevin tells us about the Kontra Roots Club

17 Our monthly look at who to

22 Nigel Elcoat takes a look at the Turner 42CE Grand Concert An accomplished fiddle player and slide guitarist, Touring the UK soon

26 Skinny Lister, Reviewed in that one and only Skatz Style.

28 Luthier, Musician and Philosopher by Phil Trate

31 New artists, exerienced artists, all come together in our feature spot

33 Together on their UK Tour

36 What’s coming up soon. (More on the web-site later)

If you didn’t advertise in

38 Our version of the Classifieds

this month, it’s because you didn’t contact Shelley.


We are now BIGGER & BETTER since we moved to our new Home

Press Packs choice, also print a press release in 25 words, 50 words, 100 words etc. These were often done by copy writers who charged an arm and a leg to do them, and some times still do. Also a CD was in the package or tape or vinyl in the early days. They would be sent out to anyone you thought might give you publicity or bookings, such as Club Owners, Agencies or the press. The press were always looking for articles for their papers etc. so if you gave them one that saved them time, they would be over the moon and you got to be in print.


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Bob Spencer Talks about

Press Packs Press packs are they important ? Are they still relevant to today’s gigging bands and performers? Well yes, but performers are notorious for not doing them. They will practice all day to get vocal and note perfect, and now they want the bookings, but they don't do the work it takes to get them. Is it simple? No, but like your chosen instrument you have to start somewhere and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Other wise there are people out there that can do it for you.

Back in the early band days and not so long ago, they were normally sent out by post and were quite expensive to do. To send out a thousand Press Packs you would need to print out 1000 photos, sometimes 2000 to give them a


These days we have the world wide web, so all you need to do is relate this history to the web. You have put up your gallery, so they see you can perform, also music clips from your album, so they can hear you, so what else do they want? The main things are a collection of photos and different size write-ups. There are other parts you can add but we will not deal with them here today.

Say “thank you Bob” because I’m giving away valuable information to my rivals here. I am a photographer and do this type of work. Just put yourself in the position of the people who may or may not book you. Their web-site maybe needs a small image of the performer for the Home Page and a larger one on their Listings page. That’s fine, but the person you are asking either spends a lot of their time updating and looking after the web-site, or they spend a lot of money on the same. So give them a real choice. Offer images that reflect the performer, but still go with the web-site in question, eg. “Your purple photo does not go with my orange web-site”. So give them a choice, a black background, a white background or an image with no background at all. Use your imagination and look at the problems of the person you are asking to book you.

Finally (on this article anyway) we have the Press Pack write-ups. Again, try to see it from the perspective of the club owner or the people who need your writeup. Some clubs need a small writeup for the Home page to get people’s attention, and a more intuitive write-up for the Listings page. Give them write-ups to choose from, 25 words, 50 words, 100 words. You would not believe the time this would save the club if all the Guest artists had these on their web-sites. If you email a guy to say “Giz a Gig” Yes, your music has got to be good, but if the other guys music is as good as yours, but you have done your Press Pack, then the the club owner will look with

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more favour on you because you have just saved him 2 hours work. Also there are dozens of places on the web that need write-ups just the same as the papers etc. A few years ago local papers and magazines would welcome outside writers to submit their articles. There are countless music mags out on the web that would welcome a write-up on your music. Do a search and find the right ones. Don’t try to submit your folk music to Local Thrash Bands Weekly. Use your head. One last word about the format. Look how I’ve written this article, a sub title, then a paragraph about the sub title. Start with this method, and you can sort out how to do it better later if you wish. There is a lot of help for writers out there so you can always get more information to better your response. This Magazine needs all the help it can get so go to Apache Open Office Org and download one of the best word precessors for free and get typing. Happy Writing Bob Spencer


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Chris Conway “Yes it's become a bit of a problem hasn't it? I've always loved recording and each group or project wants to make an album an album”. Some sell only a handful, while others are with labels and sell several thousand around the world. So what is he up to now? As usual he's busy on a lot of fronts so it's easier to divide things up.

Shelley Rose Talks To & About

Chris Conway Summing up Chris Conway's music in an article is no easy thing – lets just say he plays a lot of different instruments, in a lot of different bands, in a lot of different genres and released a lot of different albums.

Hailing originally from Michigan, USA, coming to the UK as a child, Chris Conway has been a fixture on the Leicester music scene for over 20 years. You might find him today playing his songs at an acoustic club, playing jazz piano in a bar, playing Irish whistles with Celtic band Govannen, or making strange noises with his theremin at electronic jam sessions or recording relaxation albums at home. Jumping Genres


His ability to jump genres has been the main reason he has flourished as a professional musician for 23 years. As he puts it, “I wouldn't be able to make a living as a singer-songwriter alone, or a jazz pianist, or any one thing – the variety keeps me afloat, but also keeps it fun.”

Chris has worked with a surprising array of musicians, once touring with Monkee Peter Tork, or with the Vikki Clayton Band rubbing shoulders with members of Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention. In his duo with Dan Britton he has opened for Bob Geldof, Richie Havens, Roy Wood, Jefferson Starship and more...

He has released 88 albums, either under his own name or with his bands or in co-operation with others, and he's also become a producer for other artists. Chris says

Celtic band Govannen with Dan Britton, Adele McMahon and Neil Rabjohn is his busiest band live, playing weddings, ceilidhs, concerts around the midlands. It's a busy working band with two identities. They play the old Irish songs in rowdy pubs, but they also record atmospheric Celtic chill out music for new age label Paradise Music. They have just released a new album, produced by Chris called

Celtic Earth, the follow-up to Celtic Fire which won an award in the USA for best world music album. Chris performs his own songs solo or with Dan Britton or with his backing trio with Neil Segrott and Neil Rabjohn. He plays an blend of mellow West Coast American influenced songs (think David Crosby/James Taylor) which he mixes with humorous sci-fi songs (a genre known as “filk”), Irish whistle tunes and hints of jazz, 60s, bossa, and world music songs backed by his African kalimba. Chris once overheard someone trying to describe his songs to someone else. They said “He plays songs about love and peace... and outer space”. That has been his tagline ever since.

Chris started out as a jazz pianist and still plays solo or in duos with sax player Andy Nicholls and occasionally with his jazz band, mostly in restaurants, jazz clubs and weddings. He also writes and sings jazz songs and Brazilian diva Ithamara Koorax recorded one of his songs.

Since he took sitar lessons 25 years ago Chris has been involved in world music, usually fusions with Indian music, mostly in 2 bands – The Rain Garden with sitar player Carl Peberdy and London based Jazz Orient – also known as ReOrient - with sitarist/tabla player Baluji Shrivastav and singer Linda

Shanovitch who just released a new album Undiscovered Time this year.

Dreamer is his fastest selling album. He explains, “It's a fun way of mixing mellow electronic music with Celtic and world music, just as I always have – I just slow it down a bit and add more reverb”.

The Theremin – that strange electronic instrument you play without touching – came into Confused yet? So is Chris someChris's life times, but he likes the variety. As he 12 years ago puts it, “If I was a baker I wouldn't and drove want to just bake macaroons.” In a his interest different analogy he adds, “I like in electronic every week to be different – each music. For 3 genre for me scratches a different years or itch.” more he has run a If variety is the spice of life then monthly improvised electronic mu- Chris's life is a vindaloo. sic session in Leicester called Quadelectronic. He also has a duo with Jim Tetlow called Memory Wire who make atmospheric ambient music and have released 4 albums. Chris says, “Electronic music I do for love, because no-one ever buys it or comes to gigs. Enthusiasts are too busy making electronic music themselves!”

Chris spends much of his time in the day recording new age, relaxation music for the Paradise Music label for whom he has recorded many albums. His latest one Celtic


Stage Make-up Hints & Tips It is important to remember that stage makeup is different to ‘going out’ or ‘dayto-day’ make-up. Under the bright stage lights your face can look ‘washed out’ and your skin can appear too pale. The make-up tutorial below helps to enhance your features while still looking natural on the stage.

Skin Prep your face with a primer. Areas of the face hold foundation differently and a primer will create an even surface. Apply foundation on all of your face that is a shade darker than your skin as the stage light tends to wash out the colour. Choose a foundation with yellow or neutral, rather than pink undertones. With the help of a damp sponge blend it down onto your neck. Lightly set your foundation with a yellow-based mineral powder to avoid the ‘oily look’. For a natural cheek, apply a blusher just on your cheekbones. Use the same color as the undertone of your lips or blood vessels.

Eyes In order to make your eyes appear larger, use a matt eye shadow to draw thin lines: underneath and above. Start with a top line by applying it at the inside corner of your eye, close to your eyelashes. When you get to the middle of your eye bulge, take the line away from the lash line. Think of drawing a straight line extending out to create a flick. Fill in the space between the line and eyelashes with the same colour. For the bottom line find the lowest point of your lower eyelid and make a small dot. Apply the matt eyeshade as a straight line from that dot perpendicularly extending to your inner and outer eye corners. Use the flesh tone eye shadow to fill in the space between the lower line you created and the inner waterline. Finish off with curling your eyelashes and non-clumpy mascara.

Lips Outline lips with a lip liner before applying a lipstick. Blot your lipstick with a tissue, powder your lips and apply lipstick again. Repeat the process 2-3 times to ensure that the lipstick stays on all night. Avoid lip-glosses and neon shades. If you have no time for blotting, lip stains will be an easier solution.



This system of drum construction is unique to Flint Percussion as it allows for a truly ‘suspended’ drum shell. This is achieved by having the drum shell ‘suspended’ between the top and the bottom drum skin, with no external hardware being in contact with the shell . This system of tensioning means that both drum skins are at equal tension. The pitch of a drum skin is a function of tension, and its material characteristic. Generally speaking, a ‘thinner’ drum skin will have a higher pitch than a ‘thicker’ drum skin, for any given value of tension. Flint Percussion have designed their own snare throw lever that fixes to the bottom hoop, instead of the drum shell. Once again this system is simple, and very robust. The butt plate and tube lugs also fix to the bottom hoop. The throw lever has twin functions of snare application, and snare wire can be adjusted whilst the throw lever is in the on, or off, position. Once constructed, this drum tensions both heads simultaneously by means of tightening the top screws only. The result of this unique construction is a drum with a shell that is 100% resonant, and enhances the full tone of the shell, whether this is made of wood or metal. Due to it's enhanced resonance, our Kit Snare is particularly suited to drumming styles of reggae and ska. "Because of the isolation of the hoops from the shell, cross-sticks and rim-shots are both splendidly clean and crisp" – Rhythm magazine June 2012.



Bob Spencer Talks to

Kevin Buxton

Set up in 2005 by roots musician Kevin Buxton, Kontra Roots Promotions is an informal organisation dedicated to promoting quality acoustic roots music in the Northamptonshire area and beyond. It founded and organises the highly regarded Kontra Roots Club, as well as The Finedon Sessions concert venue, and in addition supplies acts for several first-rate venues and festivals in the region. Kev will be writing a regular column for the magazine over the coming months, so we thought by way of an introduction we’d ask him a few questions about all things Kontra, past and present. **********

Kevin Buxton Q: Kontra Roots Club is now in its 8th year and is recognized as one of the best acoustic roots showcases in the Midlands, and indeed the UK. You’re a roots musician yourself. Had it always been your ambition to run a club? KB: Not at all. Nothing could have been further from my mind! It was a complete accident. Back in 2004 a friend of mine started running an open mic at a country pub near Wellingborough, then suddenly decided to relocate to Ireland and asked me if I fancied taking it over. I was busy trying to establish my then band – Kontra Band – on the acoustic circuit at the time, so running an open mic just wasn’t on my agenda, but some voice in my head stopped me from saying no, and I must say I’m very glad it did. Q: How did the club develop from a humble open mic? KB: For the first few months I thought I was making a big mistake: the open mic wasn’t well supported and I didn’t really enjoy it. I was on the verge of calling it a day when I had the idea of putting on “featured acts” - good local solo performers or bands - to finish off the evening with a 30-40 minute slot to ensure there was a bit of quality to the evening - just in case there hadn’t been previously! Featured acts are commonplace these days of course, and the majority of open mics now have invited guest performers, but back then hardly anybody did it. Anyway, it proved to be a great success and was a real turning point. Q: And you must have started enjoying yourself!

Q: You’ve now got a superb venue for the club, at Kennedy’s Bar in Finedon. When did you move there? KB: We moved from the Monk & Minstrel in 2007 after a disastrous renovation killed the atmosphere, then spent 18 months at the White Horse in Woodford, a wonderful pub which was unfortunately on its last legs. When that closed in November 2008, Julie Carr at Kennedy’s invited us to transfer there. It proved to be the perfect venue, and the club really started taking off once we got going. It’s now become our natural home and I can’t imagine running the club anywhere else.

KB: Well I enjoy putting on a good show. I have a theatrical background and I’ve always had this urge to entertain people, so when I realized that people were having a good time at these nights I started think- Q: You have a reputation for ating about how I could improve tracting some of the best up and them. coming acoustic talent from across the country, as well as more estabQ: Improve them how? lished performers from home and abroad - including many professionKB: I changed venue for one al performers. I understand they all thing, moved to the Monk & Min- play for no fee, just basic expenses. strel pub in Isham, just south of How on earth do you manage it? Kettering, a bigger, well established music pub with a good reputation, KB: I sometimes wonder that mywhose then landlord was very sup- self! I think it’s down to getting the portive. Gradually more people basics right. Most important is the came along and I started putting on sound. Geoff Bland, my Kontra two featured acts instead of just partner, is one of the best sound one. I also started inviting perform- technicians around, and no matter ers from further afield, really good who’s playing he goes to infinite players who I’d met on my travels. pains to ensure the sound is spot Gradually the open mic element ran on. We get quite a lot of acts who down as people came primarily to tell us we’ve given them the best see the guests. Eventually, in Sep- sound they’ve ever had. The other tember 2006, we relaunched the really important thing is our audievent as Kontra Roots Club, featur- ence. We’ve built up a large, enthuing three or four diverse, quality siastic and regular audience who acts, with no open mic at all, and actually listen to the performers. over the next two years the club There’s no talking at all while the slowly evolved, building a reputa- acts are playing, which is rare even tion for presenting entertaining and at good acoustic venues. eclectic evenings of very classy Performers really appreciate that. acoustic music. Audience average is about 40 at the


KONTRA ROOTS CLUB Held on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month at Kennedy’s Bar in Finedon, Northants, a typical Kontra evening will showcase three very varied, top quality acoustic roots acts, who play for 45 minutes each approx. The club starts at 8pm and runs through till 11pm or later, and though admission is free, we do welcome voluntary donations. Kennedy’s is an ideal venue for acoustic music, characterful and friendly (it also serves real ale) and it can be found at The Tower Sports Ground, Irthlingborough Road, NN9 5EJ.


EMMA BLACK A premier league singer-songwriter who learned her craft in the tradition of the true British troubadour, by uprooting and buskin the streets of European cities with a battered guitar and seeking out those who inspire and inform her music. A writer of stunningly honest songs that sit somewhere in a musical genre between Gillian Welch, The Be Good Tanyas and Beth Orton, she has the rare ability to hold an audience captive with her emotive songs, exceptional voice and skilled guitar playing. With a big European and UK following, Emma has opened for acts as diverse as The Fall, Hugh Masekela, Salif Keita, The Indigo Girls, The Zombies, Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, and Dr Feelgood among many others, and she has just released a brand new album, Swimming In The Moon, that features some of the finest grassroots musicians around today. A must see performer of rare purity. (

Kevin Buxton moment, not counting musicians, and I can’t remember the last really quiet night we had. I’m told that we have a top class reputation on the acoustic circuit, and as a result I’m approached by all kinds of tremendous performers, many of whom travel from across the country to play for us, as well as some superb musicians from abroad who regularly include us in their schedule. Q: The most incredible thing for me about the club is that admission is free. I’ve been to clubs where you’d pay at least eight or ten pounds for an evening of similar quality. Have you ever thought about charging? KB: It crops up from time to time, but we’re basically non-profit making and I don’t want to change that. Because it’s a free night, people are actually quite generous when buying raffle tickets – proceeds from which go towards artist travelling expenses – and we also have a contributions bucket. It’s quite possible for a popular act to make quite a reasonable amount. One of our most popular performers recently got £40 expenses and sold two dozen CDs, which meant he went away with over £200, which isn’t bad! Q: I know a lot of performers are prepared to travel a long way to play a good gig, even if they don’t pay much. KB: That’s very true, and playing the club also helps to “break” an act in the area if they’re not well known round here. We get most of the local roots promoters dropping in from time to time to check out interesting sounding musicians, so an appearance with us can often lead to other work. As I organize a


couple of other venues myself, a really good act can often get two or three gigs from me as well at different venues. Q: That’s right, you run several other venues as well as Kontra Roots Club. Tell me about those. KB: Well, just up the road from the club in Finedon is the Community Centre, our concert venue, where we hold quarterly acoustic concerts called The Finedon Sessions, usually on the first Fridays in February, May, August and November. These feature big name acts from the world of folk, blues and roots, with supports from the cream of the acts from Kontra Roots Club. The Community Centre is a very imaginatively converted Methodist church, which has wonderful acoustics and atmosphere, and in my opinion is one of the best venues in the region for roots music. We’ve had a wide variety of legendary acts there since we started in 2008: from Julie Felix and Richard Digance to The Pretty Things, who came and played a knockout acoustic set for us last year. Tickets are very competitively priced too, usually between £8 to £12, which is about a quarter to a third cheaper than the norm.

hugely popular with both audiences and musicians alike. Throughout the summer there’s music every Saturday evening and Sunday lunchtime, much of it free, and, like my other events, it’s very eclectic, high quality stuff. Joules really is something special. Well worth checking out. Q: All this must keep you incredibly busy! KB: It certainly does, and in the summer I organize a few small festivals too so it’s pretty non-stop. Fortunately I really enjoy it, and I even find time to play my own music too!

Q: Tell me about Joules Yard. KB: Aha! Joules is my other main venue, and certainly my most eccentric as it’s also an antique shop, restaurant, garden centre and laundry! It’s just off the High Street in Market Harborough and is actually pretty impossible to describe– you really do need to go there to fully appreciate its uniqueness – but I’ve been booking acts at Joules now for the last two years and its become

For more information about all of Kev’s events, go to: Club Owners, Agencies or the press. The press were always looking for articles for their papers etc. so if you gave them one that saved them time, they would be over the moon and you got to be in print.


Polly Barrett Label Self-Released Release Date August 27 2012

Polly Barrett, the new jewel of Irish folk-pop, recently launched her debut album Mr. Bookshop in her native country.

The Nowhere, Rome Sessions LabeLabel Self-Released Release Date September 3 2012 It is often said that music is a universal language that transcends culture, borders, and boundaries. For Anna Coogan and Daniele Fiaschi, who don’t share a language, much less a culture or even a time zone, music is the only language. She is a New Englander, from the East Coast of the USA, a former opera singer and biologist turned touring songwriter. He is a Roman whose Etruscan roots go as far back as anyone can remember, raised on classic rock and touring with some of Italy’s biggest pop acts. Introduced by producer JD Foster in 2010, they embarked on

Polly's debut single and title track from the album, ‘Mr. Bookshop’, was chosen by international music industry bible, Music Week, for inclusion on their 'Sounds of Ireland' CD and resulted in Polly being invited to open for artists such as Agnes Obel, Chris Wood and Julie Felix on their recent tour dates. Polly Barrett began her music career as a busker on the streets of Cork City. Her mellow, folksy songs and clear, easy voice reflect her love of nature and matters of the heart. The album 'Mr. Bookshop' draws comparisons with songstresses such as Nanci Griffith, Mary Black, Kate Rusby and Norah Jones, while its collection of beautifully crafted songs draw influence from artists like Joni Mitchell and John Martyn.

“Polly Barrett is the new jewel of Irish folk-pop” Music Week “(Mr. Bookshop) a fine introduction to a talent worth keeping an eye on.” Hot Press ‘Ireland has a habit of producing wonderful female singers and Polly Barrett is no exception’. Goldenplec

a journey that spanned two continents, numerous snowstorms, and stages of every size, often held together by little more than an ItalianEnglish dictionary and a mutual love of The Beatles. “The frustrating and often hilarious communication problems we have are part of our story.” Coogan explains. “We really have to work by feel, nuance, and mood, because words aren’t going to cut it.” One Dutch venue described it as one of the best shows in their history, and another described them as “a match made in heaven.” Audiences adored the passionate sound and immediately began clamouring for a record that mirrored the live show - no production, no distractions, just the two of them. Convening with thousands of other pilgrims during Holy Week, Coogan and Fiaschi recorded The No-

where, Rome Sessions at Nowhere Studios in Rome on April 6 and 7 2012, and mixed it the next day. The result is a gorgeous snapshot of that weekend: sunshine, cigarette smoke, red wine, espresso, laughter - and the sheer joy they experience playing together. Nowhere was recorded with minimal overdubs and even fewer edits, often recording each song seven times in a quest for the perfect take. A collection of their six most popular songs and three previously unreleased songs, the record aches with emotion and the raw energy the two have become known for. Also included is a live track from their much heralded performance at the 2011 Roepaen Festival in Ottersum, Holland. Coogan and Fiaschi return to the UK & Ireland to celebrate the release of The Nowhere, Rome Sessions from September 18-October 6.


other directionless lost souls.

"As you encounter the characters on this record, it becomes clear that Drew Nelson has dedicated and re-dedicated himself to getting at real human stories," says acclaimed songwriter Peter Mulvey. "Some of these characters are him, and some are people he knows, and all their stories let us know that Drew is standing in the Midwestern cold, seeing and telling as clearly as he can."


the CD and just lived in the studio for the next two weeks, writing two new songs and recording almost everything live.” The timing ended up being perfect as Drew was able to record with some of his favourite Michigan musicians, including Michael Crittenden (B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, piano, guitars), Mark R. Schrock (bass, mandolin, vocals), Brian Morrill (drums), Drew Howard (pedal steel, Dobro), Jen Sygit (vocals) and Bettye LaVette’s guitarist Brett Lucas who was coincidentally not on tour and was able to come in from Detroit. Adding some soulful electric guitar parts, Lucas added a rock edge to songs like ‘Promised Land’ and ‘Danny and Maria’ while adding subtle textures to acoustic tracks like ‘St. Jude’ and ‘Here and There’.


UK Tour · November… December 2012 Red House Records is pleased to announce the release of Tilt-AWhirl, the label debut of Michigan songwriter Drew Nelson. An artist with an international reputation and several critically acclaimed albums under his belt, the folk/Americana artist writes as a witness to the lives and journeys of those he has met along the way. Mixing Springsteen’s roots-rock sounds with the folk storytelling sensibility of Nanci Griffith, Drew introduces us to an eclectic cast of everyday characters that includes out of work war vets, forsaken lovers, migrant workers and


Recorded in his home state of Michigan, Drew’s new album sprung out of a series of serendipitous events that started with a chance encounter with a friend in 2011. It had been two years since his radio-charting album Dusty Road to Beulah Land came out, and this friend told him he had to make a new CD. “I just laughed and said ‘Yeah, if I could pay for it.’ He asked me how much it would cost, and he wrote me a check.” Drew then called up his producer Michael Crittenden at Mackinaw Harvest Studios and to his great disappointment, discovered that the studio was booked solid for the next six months. But five minutes later, Michael called back saying that the band had cancelled for the following week. “That was it,” Drew says. “I started to call all the musicians I knew that I wanted on

Together this ensemble of musicians brings Drew’s sad and beautiful working class tales to life. Speaking to today’s hard economic realities, Tilt-A-Whirl illuminates people’s struggles to hold onto their hopes and dreams as they spin through the wild carnival ride of life.

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Nigel Elcoat’s

Guitar Review

Turner Guitars 42CE Grand Concert Welcome to our first guitar review with thanks to The Guitar Workshop Ibstock Leicestershire for lending us this guitar for review.

Turner Guitars Turner Guitars are based in Doncaster South Yorkshire UK, and if this guitar is anything to go by, long may they continue. The model in question is their Model 42CE Grand Concert which is a single cutaway small body guitar with a solid spruce top Ovangol back and sides and a mahogany neck, with a natural gloss top and satin back and sides, with Grover style machine heads. Electrics are delivered through a Fishman Isys + preamp with volume, treble, bass, phase reversal , tuner and battery check built in, a nice touch is a separate battery compartment so that battery changing is hassle free, no fiddling inside the sound hole great.


The finish is very nicely done with no sharp edges on the frets as you run your hand up and down the fingerboard something other manufacturers should take note of (it’s a personal gripe). The neck is slim with a nut width of 45mm nice low action very easy to play, didn’t want to put it down in fact. As it’s a cutaway guitar access to higher

frets is easy if you want to play chords or a bit of lead work beyond the 12th, fret.

Sounds The guitar is very responsive to the touch with a very good bit natural sustain both acoustically and plugged in. Acoustically it sounds quite bright which is what you

The Guitar Workshop 01530 260984

would expect from this style of guitar with its smaller body, but it isn’t over bright or thin sounding with a nice treble and good low bass response. Plugged in the Fishman produces a great sound, very even and the natural sustain

really shines through, which is very good for either finger picking or plectrum work

Finally I like this guitar its well put together and good for different styles of playing. Whether you want it for the stage. plugged into a PA or playing acoustically at the folk club. Go and give it a go, you’ll be glad you did.


The Music Shop

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Lincoln gives birth to a sound that transcends genres. His dark, poetic and raw writing style is reminiscent of his mentor Ray Wylie Hubbard, telling tales that Poe would have been proud of. His guitar work is like a locomotive pumping and driving the runaway train that is Lincoln Durham and his music. This is not to imply that any of it is in any way out of control. On the contrary, he never stops driving that train. This is music that harkens back to the old blues masters, Son House and Fred McDowell, infused with the likes of Tom Waits and Ray Wylie Hubbard himself.

Debut UK Tour • September-October 2012 Lincoln Durham… He's an intense-looking young man with an old bastardized Gibson acoustic. Worn-out blue jeans and a crop of long, wavy hair. But there is something in his eyes, something that suggests he knows something most people don't. The eyes of an old soul. The soul of an old bluesman, withered, weathered, worn but primed and ready to burst out of this young man and preach the news of some new kind of depraved music. An accomplished fiddle player around Arkansas and Oklahoma who had won the Texas State Youth Fiddle Championship by the age of 10, Lincoln had afterward followed the path so many musicians have, finding his


vice in the seductive, siren-like callings of the electric guitar. Or really acoustic slide guitar with gnarly pickups screwed into it. The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones is an album of self-destruction. “It is my agony put into words and music via 11 songs,” Lincoln explains. “It is the story of building dreams and tearing down those dreams all in the same moment. I am both the shovel and the howling bones. Burying while at the same time howling and contesting my own burial. It is my existence.” Lincoln Durham simply owns the stage! Equipped with old, makeshift 1950s amps, resonators, fiddles, harmonicas, tin can microphones, slides, stomp boards and you name it,

Lincoln Durham’s passion seems to know no bounds. He has taken the roots of the blues and bluegrass and has carried them to a new place. Intelligent lyrics, strong musicianship, a seriously infectious vocal style that slays – he's rolled them all together into a perfect package that can only be called Lincoln Durham.

Skatz ence what it is to be blasted by true, gut-wrenching, heart-pulling, dance-grabbing music gifted to us by people who really MEAN what they’re saying.

I’ve been lucky/unlucky enough to see two bands recently playing what could generally be referred to as ‘that jumpy about folky stuff’; the reason for my forward slash is that the two bands were at opposite ends of the spectrum. One was the kind made up of middle aged, middle class people who’ve seen it done, worked out the chords to Wild Rover, got their mates together, read the words from, found an accountant who could sing the tune with no discernible emotion to be their front man and managed, with the help of an enthusiastic drummer, tight bass player and a selection of very recognisable songs, to get half of the audience clapping and jigging. To give an artistic analogy, they are the watercolour painters, perhaps


OK, art analogies aside, here’s the nitty gritty. Skinny Lister, like their biography rightly states ‘are not your average, modern day, gentrified English folk group. Fronted by Dan Heptinstall and Lorna Thomas, a vocalist with a lusty cackle and flirtatious presence, the London based five-piece hail from across England.’ Their biog may need updating, Dan and Lorna married recently, possibly to the chagrin of every hot-blooded male in the naeven painting by numbers perpetra- tion! Songwriter Dan is from Yorktors of the art world. shire, bassist Dan Gray is from Skinny Lister, on the other hand, Tyneside, Lorna from Leicesterare the full on, living-in-a-ware- shire. Together with long-time house studio, throwing multi-col- shanty singer Sam ‘Mule’ Bruce and oured oil paints at huge canvasses Lorna’s brother Max they are a fivethen scraping and shaping them piece destined for great things. with all manner of brushes, rags and garden implements in a frenzy of It’s only been a few years since their creative passion kind of painters. mixture of perceptive and bucolic The kind who live their art, im- English ballads and roaring shanties merse themselves in it, shout and set off on their rum-fuelled party dream and fly and sweat their muse. train journey to recognition, taking in the nations canals and waterways, bursting spontaneously into song in pubs and clubs and kicking the collective musical backsides of festival-goers into a frenzy of dance and drunkeness. Dubbed by PRS as ‘The Hardest Working Band of the Summer 2011’ (30 festivals in all); and they don’t seem to have let up The differences are palpable. Like since; it’s no surprise that at The Justin Beiber vs Johnny Rotten (as Donkey pub where I saw them they he was, not the traitorous, butter- looked a little bleary eyed and only selling scab he’s become). played for about an hour after their 2 support bands. I guess they could Maybe the sort of fans who were have played for twice as long and jigging at the first gig sadly couldn’t we’d still have screamed for more. tell the difference, which is a shame. “We travelled hundreds of miles If not, I wish they too could experi- together in a Land Rover with a

double bass strapped to the roof, sharing the driving, playing gigs every night and going out to party afterwards. We didn’t make it easy on ourselves but it does bond you as family.” Dan recollects. Yes Dan, we can tell. And it makes us happy cos it makes us feel part of it. The gig was made even better if that’s possible by the addition of honorary member, ‘Party George’, Lorna’s dad, who got up to sing a song or two. Almost as flirtatious as his daughter (and you can see where she got her rumbunctiousness from), he invited us into his world with twinkled-eyed devilishness. Go George, we salute you, much as the band do at every gig. The Skinny’s have a debut album that’s just been released, and it’s a stonker. ‘Forge & Flagon’ is named after a ShedPub (that’s a garden shed that’s been converted into a horse-brass spit-and-sawdust party bunker) run by Mandy & Smudge, two of the most fun people in this dimension, in a secret location in Leicestershire, frequented secretly

by some wonderful secret musicians who secretly drink themselves silly and sing at each other. Secretively. Many are the times I’ve not been seen not being carried away, not at all the worse for wear. But that’s enough about me, the album can be ordered through the band’s website,, where you can also find out more about them, listen to some tracks and get their tour itinerary amongst other stuff.

They’ve also just made a short film for Channel 4 which you can get on You Tube along with the other song videos (look out for the one of them maypole dancing with 4 land rovers). And if you look on Facebook you can see pictures of the sort of huge crowds they were playing to in America. In summary, catch ‘em while you can in a small venue, or wait till you have to pay loads to go somewhere where they’re a distant dot on a

leviathan stage, it’s up to you. But catch them, catch them like virulent syphilis. Scratch that itch. There is a cure but you may not want to take it. Wait, I can’t finish like that. Flowers and trees and warm sunshine, frolics in the meadow, lusty maidens dancing among the buttercups, the distant sound of church bells and the clonk of leather on willow. There. Ahhhhhhh.

The debut album unfurls charms in detail. Up tempo carouser , a trade sea shanty dating from Mule’s early Greenwich days, and stomping celebrations and ; (a song written by Party George – Lorna and Max’s father – which they reinvent with characteristic verve) are winningly contrasted with the reflective coming of age waltz Seventeen Summers, the lovely nature appreciating and the skinnydipping frolics of .


Bob Dayfield

Bob is all of the above and I had the opportunity to chat with him recently gaining some valuable insights into the Luthier’s art whilst listening to his story. Bob comes from an engineering background and has certainly inherited his father’s love of ‘seeing how things fit together’. In the early 70s Bob’s interest in music in general and acoustic guitars in particular was first fired by listening to Stefan Grossman’s blues and ragtime playing. He remembers with affection Martin guitars with ‘snowflake’ inlays on the fingerboard (which, incidentally, I thought were called ‘fretboards’) A Martin was far beyond his budget so an Echo model had to suffice. In order to brighten up the sound Bob lavished his attentions and sandpaper on the soundboard (which I thought was called ‘the front of the guitar) until it was an eighth of an inch thick. Sadly, this proved a bit too much for the poor instrument which ‘fell to bits’ rather too soon.


Undaunted, and bolstered by his stoic philosophy of ‘the more mistakes you make, the more you learn’, Bob decided that he, nevertheless, wanted to be a maker of acoustic guitars.

general picture from the client of what is required and then will build a guitar with that overview in mind. If the client feels that the guitar is not for them, then he or she is under no obligation to buy, Bob believing that there is always someone for each guitar.

Sadly, there was a paucity of suitable wood in England (more of this later) and so he and a pal raised the then princely sum of £500 which funded a trip to Germany to purchase the appropriate ‘timber’ ( some of which is still in Bob’s possession today – ‘my pension’ he calls it!).

Although he has made electric guitars, his first passion is for acoustic models and he intends to major on these.

The first guitar he made was for his own use. This was perhaps fortunate as this one too seems to have had a built-in self destruct mechanism. More lessons learned! The guitar which his friend had built, however, sounded great. This puzzled him as the two instruments looked very similar. “Learning to look is a hell of a skill,” he muses, “as is learning to listen.” He studied the less obvious differences very carefully and put it all right in his second effort. He hasn’t looked back. Guitar making became Bob’s full time occupation in 1985 when he began working for Pilgrim guitars. Although this provided valuable experience, Bob was in effect part It takes approximately 200 hours of of a production line and his real work to make each instrument, the wish was to build from start to finish. sanding, polishing and veneering taking a large proportion of that. Working from his small workshop , this is now exactly what he does Care and attention to the soundboard is paramount, and this and loves. is where the wood that is chosen is so crucial. Apparently Stradivarius only used wood from the north side Bob doesn’t take commissions, of the tree, where the moss had which surprised me, and he doesn’t grown. George Lowden’s earlier make copies ( if you want a Martin guitars used only split wood, not D-35 then buy one, don’t order a sawn. Even the shape, grain and copy) He works by gleaning a positioning of the braces makes a

difference to the final tone Bob tells me. He believes that each luthier puts something unique into their instruments which defies definition but is all part of the poetry, so to speak.

How many Luthier’s,would you really trust with your beloved Guitars

He laments what he perceives as the loss of a certain pride in products that reach the market these days. The sense of pride that Bob takes in his work really came across in our meeting, as did his absolute love of the journey each new guitar is, from anonymous piece of timber to a unique and beautiful crafted instrument. He thinks that all too often now money seems to be the only measure of success. The product is now there simply as a means of generating cash, whereas the money used to be just one of the necessary ingredients to achieve a final quality product in which the makers could take pride. Mmm, that could generate very long conversations over a few beers!

Guitar Repairs Leicester Bob Dayfield Proprietor

Hand Built Guitars Repairs to most fretted Instruments Tel: 0116 2 671 028

Acoustic Featured Finally we can let you in on what's been keeping us smiling for the last few weeks in the Acoustic Gathering cellar – We booked the Lightning Seeds for our first ever Saturday Spectacular! Bona fide pop perfection, Ian Broudie's collection of music and musicians are a genuine sensation, taking you on a beautiful and harmonious journey through their rather lovely world. This special acoustic performance is something we are exceptionally proud to present, a rare chance to see a great act in a unique location.

We’ve got the best thing to come out of Devon since cream teas and ice cream, 3 Daft Monkeys, headlining Acoustic Gathering 2012. We had them in 2008 and they loved playing on the lake so much, they wrote about it in a song. Expect dancing, fiddling, banging, singing, loving and grooving.... and that'll just be us! They are a musical tour de force who really must be experienced live at least once in your life.

“Matt Norris & The Moon are a cracking Edinburgh-based folk band who’s dynamic performances, driving melodies and great four-part harmonies will entice lovers of Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn” – Folk Radio UK. The band have had a busy year so far in 2012, starting on New Year's Eve itself, performing on the main stage of Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations alongside Primal Scream! In spring, the Moon released their new EP 'This Kingdom' and have been busy ever since touring the width and breadth of the UK

We've never needed to look too far to find excellent music and Mark Stanley and The Fieldnotes prove that Scarborough has a depth of talent unrivalled throughout the land. Following the success of his recent solo EP 'Ragnorak', Mark has been touring America as well as performing regularly this side of the pond as well. We've been looking forward to hearing this incredible band play our stage and cannot think of a better way to start our 2 day extravaganza.

Many thanks to for the page header clipart



CARRIE ELKIN & DANNY SCHMIDT TOGETHER UK Tour · SeptemberOctober 2012 To coincide with their return to the UK together in September 2012, Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt will release a new digital 45, entitled Together. These two life partners typically perform solo, but in 2012 they are touring together in musical partnership, as well. In a show of artistic solidarity, these new recordings feature Carrie singing one of Danny's songs, and Danny singing one of Carrie's songs, with the other joining in harmony.

Carrie chose one of Danny's classics, ‘Company Of Friends’, a contemplative song about how our relationships forge our very identity. This particular performance is a departure from the plaintive solo version of Danny's, with Carrie's powerful vocals leading an anthemic march with a choir of friends. Our relationships forge our very identity.

And Danny chose a lost jewel of Carrie's entitled ‘Swing From A Note’, a sweet pensive love song in one of those infectious lilting country waltzes that Carrie has become famous for. Recorded live with a group of Austin's finest musicians, these tracks showcase the steel guitar work of Colin Brooks (from The Band Of Heathens) and numerous guest harmony vocalists, including Paul Curreri, Devon Sproule, Raina Rose, and Rebecca Loebe.

Carrie & Danny will be performing together in the UK for the first time from September 26 through October 16 It’s a special treat when Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt, who normally tour separately and solo, get to share the stage together. If the chemistry seems especially sparkful, they come by it honestly, as they are a rare breed: a romantic partnership in real life, not just musical life. And the two together on stage makes for a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Danny Schmidt is best known for his riveting poetic lyrics, which have drawn favourable comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt for their depth and complexity. And gypsy spirit Carrie Elkin is best known for her incredibly soulful and dynamic vocals, which have drawn favourable comparisons to Patty Griffin at her most powerful, and Nanci Griffith at her most intimate.


On Danny: Named one of the Chicago Tribune’s 50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt has been rapidly ascending from underground cult hero status to being broadly recognized as an artist of generational significance. Danny is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, leading Sing Out! Magazine to tag him: “Perhaps the best new songwriter we’ve heard in the last 15 years.” On Carrie: One of Texas Music Magazine’s Artists Of The Year in 2011, Austin, TX-based Carrie Elkin is a born performer, possessing an infectious energy that cannot be contained. As Maverick Magazine so eloquently put it: “We have never seen a performer so in love with the act of singing. Onstage Elkin is simply a force of nature.” With her dazzling voice and unpretentious charm, Carrie wins over audiences with songs that are, as FolkWax puts it: “Intimate, yet universal. Naked, yet richly adorned. Her voice is

Don’t miss these two great artists in a rare split-bill performance, sharing songs back and forth, lending their voices to each other’s tunes, in harmony. And lending commentary to each other’s tunes, in the form of smart-ass between-song banter.


Acclaimed Austin songwriters Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt announce their first UK tour together , to coincide with the release of their new twotrack Digital 45 Together . Also be supporting their current Red House Records releases, Call It My Garden and Man Of Many Moons


TOGETHER THEIR FIRST DUO RECORDING! New digital 45 featuring Carrie singing Danny's classic, ‘Company Of Friends’ and Danny singing Carrie's lost gem, ‘Swing From A Note’. Together is available exclusively from iTunes

Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt · September-October 2012 UK Tour September Wednesday 26


The Hen & Chicken

Thursday 27


The Maze

Friday 28

Chiddingly, nr. Lewes

Chiddingly Village Hall - Chiddingly Festival

Saturday 29

Penryn, Cornwall

Miss Peapods

Sunday 30

Launceston, Cornwall

No 8 Café

Tuesday 2


The B-Bar

Wednesday 3

Formby, Merseyside

Grateful Fred’s @ Formby British Legion

Thursday 4

Lichfield, Staffs.

House Concert

Friday 5

Saltaire, Shipley, West Yorks.

The Living Room @ Caroline Social Club

Saturday 6

Abington, nr. Biggar, Lanarkshire

The Abington Hotel


Sunday 7

Glasgow CCA - Glasgow Americana Festival

Austin Songwriters in the Round with Sam Baker & Eliza Gilkyson

Monday 8

Wombwell, nr Barnsley

House Concert

Tuesday 9


The Greystones

Wednesday 10

Cheadle Hulme, Stockport

Chads Theatre

Thursday 11


The Chattery

Friday 12

Kelvedon, nr. Braintree

The Institute

Saturday 13


West Hill Hall

Sunday 14

Tunbridge Wells

The Beacon Hotel

Tuesday 16


The Old Queens Head, Islington

Praise for Carrie Elkin’s Call It My Garden (Red House Records, 2011) “an album of refreshingly original songwriting and refined performances” Country Music People “generous songs of open hearts and honest reflections” Irish Times “a writer and performer of some considerable skill and talent.” R2

Praise for Danny Schmidt’s Man Of Many Moons (Red House Records, 2011) “Schmidt gambles everything on lyrical intensity and simple presentation, and succeeds.” BBC Music “(Schmidt’s) singing voice has a quietly compelling quality and if you switch onto that you'll enjoy dipping into his ever-growing body of work; there's a richness in his songwriting that means you'll as happily revisit these songs as any of the great singersongwriters in your collection.” FlyinShoes Review “Man Of Many Moons shows off wonderful melodic tunes, with deft and sharp lyrics.” The Telegraph


What’s On Jazz Open Day

Thursday 13 September MALCOLM HOLCOMBE UK & Ireland Tour

Drew Nelson British Tour

Academy Harp Ensemble


What’s On

Total Brass

The Big Band Swing Greats

Antje Duvekot Friday, September 28, 2012 8pm New Gloucester, ME

Village Coffee House 19 Gloucester Hill Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260 phone: 207-926-3161





8 & 9 Westgate Grantham Lincs NG31 6LT

Tel: 01476 570 700

Massive Selection of Instruments and Accessories.

Fast UK Delivery

Sales: 0845 458 4583

Epiphone Hummingbird Cherry Sunburst Finish

3 Finkle Street Carslisle CA3 8UU


Phone for details 01228 537469

Acoustic-Knights We have Music Stores in NEWCASTLE - GATESHEAD - DARLINGTON

An Acoustic Music Evening every

1st Tuesday of the Month For musical instruments and recording equipment

Starting at 8-30pm at the

Royal Arms Main Street, Sutton Cheney, Nr Market Bosworth. See web-site for full details and map Floor singers/musicians from all genre Plus Guest Artist/s


Tel: 01925 582 420


Thanks for looking in on us

Photoshoot-Credits Models Ayesha West, Model Mayhem 2393432 Stacey-Louise, Model Mayhem 2724482 James Barron, Model Mayhem 1715729 Make-up Cat Cleaves, Model Mayhem 2644386 Maryna Sam, Madel Mayhem 2678661


Acoustic Monthly 01-09-12  

Acoustic Music Magazine