Folk TV

Last week I deleted the FFS myspace account.

This week I (with much help!) started a YouTube channel. Please subscribe to us so you can view videos from our previous For Folk's Sake nights. We've split Jim Causley's amazing set in to four parts, and the first part is up now. Keep checking back for the next three.

And see you next ... week! (I didn't want to say Thursday as that could be misinterpreted. But our next show is Thursday October 7, upstairs in Kro with The Minnikins, Harp And A Monkey and Johnny5thWheel&TheCowards)

Dreaming of folk

I dreamt last night that I was shoved into the tiny room of a packed venue and told to curate a FFS for a festival. I hadn't booked any bands, I had to charge on the door despite everyone having wristbands and there was a ruddy giant bed in the middle of the room that everyone was having to walk around. No bands were there, and there was a disappointed elderly couple imploring me to put some bands on. 'Where are they?' they kept asking. I just remembered looking at my watch and sweating profusely.

Thank god I woke up.

I will not mention sound systems ever again. It's a promise.

Things are never straightforward, are they?

After excellent consultation with Johnny Roadhouse and a good friend who knows his stuff, the PA (yes, I'm still banging on about it!) arrived and it was all very exciting. At its debut event, though, one of the speakers decided not to work.

At all.

For someone with a car, this is probably annoying, but for someone without a car, it means getting a taxi on my lunch break to nip to Johnny Roadhouse, in amongst the fresher madness, and get it sent back. No fault of anyone's, of course, and Johnny Roadhouse were fabulous in placing a new order.

But, honestly - PAs are the bane of my life.

Anyway, thanks to all who crammed into the basement at Postcards to listen to Maliika, Glass Ankle and Samson and Delilah. I must admit, I was a little worried that people wouldn't meander down from the top floor to us. I assumed bands would be playing to Chris and I. But thankfully, we were blessed with a large crowd (well, as large a crowd as the basement room can muster!) the entire time.

And, of course, the bands were fantastic. I hadn't seen Maliika before, but those two girls have the most incredible voices! I can't get enough of Glass Ankle, who have now augmented their lineup with a lovely, almost-shoegazey, chimey guitarist. The songs are sweet but without twee-ness, and anyone who rhymes 'Hovis' with 'pelvis' can safely assume my patronage. And it was great to have a sneak preview of Samson and Delilah's new material from their forthcoming second album: it was all very atmospheric.

You can read Cath's review of the event here.

As for other stuff, I've written a piece for Manchester's premier arts and culture 'What's On' site, Go See This. It was really fun to do, but there are sooo many more folk gigs on this autumn, this was just my personal pick.

I've also had the pleasure of interviewing Mabon's fiddle player, Oli Wilson-Dickson, for Fiddle On and have an interview scheduled with Athene from 3 Daft Monkeys. Their new album is on the way, and I had a good listen at the weekend - they've really run with the carnival idea, it's a great listen.

You can read my review of the Olof Arnalds gig last week at Dulcimer here. She's getting loads of airplay on 6music at the moment, and had a really lovely interview with Cerys Matthews on Sunday. And I think she's actually converted Chris to folk music...

And finally, I'm off to see Le Trio Joubran at Band On The Wall this Friday. Though I've never seen them before, I'm dying to see the masters of the oud take to the stage and blow me away. The trio consists of three generations of a renowned Palestinian oud maker family - imagine having that claim to fame? A friend of mine who is fascinated by the Israeli-Palestine conflict and their respective cultures is a big fan, so I'm sure she'll be able to tell me more when we're at the gig. I'll give a full write up afterwards.

It's the end of an era...

... I've deleted the FFS myspace account. My first foray into social networking. And I still think it's invaluable for bands, but for FFS, this blog and facebook is worker far harder and I keep letting people down by not responding to messages quick enough. Apologies if you've ever found yourself one of those people!

So what else is going on? Well, you might like to read my Her Name Is Calla review, and get your tickets for this Saturday's Postcards From Manchester festival which I'm very excited about. And it'll be the first outing for our brand new PA! (Right, I'll shut up about that now.) We're off to see Olof Arnalds at Dulcimer on Thursday, too, which should be ace.

It's getting off to a good start...

The first FFS of the season, with Jim Causley, was a brilliant night. I even got a little teary, but hopefully, no one noticed.

First of all, the Bailey Sisters - a locally based, close harmony group with whom I often converse on Twitter - turned up and volunteered to fill in for Chris Knowles who had to pull out due to illness. So, after a quick rehearsal in the ladies, up they got and sang four songs, encouraging the crowd to participate, too. It was a welcome and unexpected start.

Many of the audience had seen the respective bands of Daniel Land and Jayn Hanna, and had witnessed Daniel moonlighting in Jayn's The Steals, but few had seen them play together. They told us repeatedly that they were under rehearsed, but you couldn't guess - Jayn's voice is even more mesmerising when you're up close and Daniel's simple accompaniment of soundscape washes is simple but effective.

And then it was Jim. He abandoned the PA and took to the floor, to his audience on his level. He is like a master of ceremonies: he introduces his own act, his material and his thoughts and emotions with ease, confidence and authenticity. Did I say I got a bit teary?! I did.

Anyway, you might want to read a review from an outside agency, not from someone as biased as me - the promoter!


Now it's the weekend and Air Cav is recording our debut album. It's very exciting, even though I haven't yet played a note. We're at this fine establishment and I'm pleased as there's two horses in patting distance from the front door. As soon as we're done - I should imagine it'll be a while - I'll let you know where you can hear it.