A quiet and unassuming man, it’s hard to reconcile the chap who sidles up to us with the boisterous youngster in those classic Top of the Pops re-runs.…
It’s a big weekend for folk music, especially if you’re in London and you’ve got a thing about The Watersons. On Friday, The Gift Band (made up, in part, of Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy and Martin Carthy), release their latest album, Anchor, on Topic Records (you can order it by clicking here), and that’s swiftly followed by a launch party on Sunday (it’s at the Union Chapel, and you’re all invited).
I have a kind of modus operandi here on The Grizzly Folk blog. It was created to explore the world of traditional folk music and, as much as I’d like to review and chat to singer-songwriters who play non-trad folk, that’s not what this website is for. Usually, this works quite neatly. Occasionally, however, the lines get a bit blurred.
If The Guardian is correct in its assertions, the Morris is making a comeback.
Maybe it’s because yesterday was Mayday and, for a few brief hours at least, also quite sunny, but a good number of people on the folkie social media channels (myself very much included) were getting quite giddy about the sudden revived interest. However, as I sat in a local cafe this morning and watched the weather threatening this weekend’s maypole celebrations, the cynic in me reappeared. The stereo pumped out a thumping, electronic Spotify playlist, and I wondered – as so many must have before me – quite where Morris dancing fits into 2018.
I pack the last of the chairs away and crawl out from the cupboard under the Whitchurch Folk Club stage, where Eliza and Martin Carthy…
On a pleasant autumn day in late 2017, I found myself kicking about in the fallen leaves outside Cecil Sharp House, killing a little time before I was due to meet the chief executive and artistic director (all one role) of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), Katy Spicer.
There’s an understandable worry in the traditional folk world that there may not be enough enthusiasts among the younger generation to take the baton and keep things going. The generation that lived through the 50s and 60s Revival appears to have had folk lovers a-plenty, but despite specialist university courses at places like Sheffield and Newcastle, the generation currently in their 20s and 30s feels sparsely populated by comparison.
Meet Jack Rutter: folk singer, multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, and – as you’ll see – man who frets over things like ‘best before’ dates. I mention this point up front because I think it might give you a sense of who you’re going to read about – a gentle, humble, loveable fellow that I had the pleasure of hosting when he played at Whitchurch Folk Club in November.
Ahead of Normafest 2018, I chatted with Eliza Carthy about the festival’s history, the lineup for the coming event, the where to goes and what to knows. Along the way she chatted openly about her mother’s illness, the importance of the Bright Phoebus album, the contraband on sale in pubs around Robin Hood’s Bay, the new Gift Band album, a forthcoming and very exciting tour, and why Norma Waterson was once seen carrying a platypus on a board. Just a typical conversation with Eliza Carthy, then.