Old Tunes Fresh Takes – “The Wife of Usher’s Well”

Old Tunes Fresh Takes is a monthly digital folk club and podcast where we learn and record a traditional folk song and encourage you to do the same. Open to musicians of all styles and abilities. This episode features Anna Roberts-Gevalt

“The Good Old Way” Episodes 1-4

Part 1 of a 4 part series about British folk music. Originally aired on BBC2 on June 13 1983. This episode focuses on The Watersons.

Part 2 of a 4 part series about British folk music. Originally aired on BBC2 on June 14 1983. This episode focuses on Alison MacMorland and Peta Webb

Part 3 of a 4 part series about British folk music. Originally aired on BBC2 on June 15 1983. This episode focuses on Martin Carthy and Ewan MacColl.

Part 4 of a 4 part series about British folk music. Originally aired on BBC2 on June 16 1983. This episode focuses on Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.

How Laura Marling’s new music was inspired by Maya Angelou’s ode to motherhood

KCRW’s In Residence sessions feature storytelling performances and commentary from some of our favorite artists. Laura Marling performs new music from her 2020 album “Song For Our Daughter,” and tells us about teaching guitar lessons.

British singer-songwriter Laura Marling has accomplished a lot across seven studio albums and 12 years recording music. She’s garnered Mercury Prize and Grammy nominations, collaborated with Ed O’Brien of Radiohead, Blake Mills and others, and she’s even started teaching online guitar lessons, which she details below. This all to say, she’s a supremely talented artist who moves in dynamic ways within the folk-rock lane. 

Her new album “Song For Our Daughter” was scheduled to come out later this summer but she found an opportunity to connect us all during the COVID crises by releasing it early. Marling said in a statement regarding the change of date, “In light of the change to all our circumstances, I saw no reason to hold back on something that, at the very least, might entertain, and at its best, provide some sense of union.” The album is a nod to Maya Angelou’s collection “Letter To My Daughter.” Marling herself is not a mother but she takes us there through her delicate songwriting — writing for a girl who needs confidence and hope.

Marling last visited Morning Becomes Eclectic in 2017, behind her Grammy-nominated album “Semper Femina,” and we were impressed by the ornate full band performance. For In Residence, she’s stripped back the arrangements to present two tracks from her new album and a throwback to 2011 — all recorded exclusively for KCRW. Check out the session and read on for more about her current projects.

How did your online guitar lessons come about? Are you teaching your own songs or covers? Tell us all about the project.

They came about just as a product of wanting to contribute something to the effort of distracting people (or perhaps myself) from the anxiety over what was going on in the world. In the first week of lockdown in the UK, I started doing live tutorials of some of my old songs, showing people the tricks I use in different tunings, etc. Continue reading

BBC Folk Music Programme Changes Criticised

Open letter to BBC asks for confirmation of the broadcaster’s commitment to folk music.

Following the cancellation of various folk music radio shows across the BBC in England, CEO of English Folk Expo, Tom Besford, has written an open letter, asking for clarity on the media organisation’s commitment to folk music. 

Addressed to James Purnell, BBC’s Director of Radio and Education, the letter calls for the BBC’s support of folk, roots and acoustic music through music programming. During the pandemic, various folk music shows have been cancelled, including BBC Radio Sheffield’s New Traditions with Greg Russell, BBC Radio Shropshire’s Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk, Johnny Coppin on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s The Folk ShowKent Folk on BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Thursday Night Folk, and The Durbervilles on BBC Radio Leeds, among others. 

Additionally, The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2, England’s main folk music show on the BBC, was changed from 7pm to 9pm before the pandemic, and since then it has been temporarily changed to a now pre-recorded show airing at 11pm. 

The letter from Besford reads: 

Folk music relies on the support of the subsidised BBC. Musicians need the air play not just for profile, not just to keep audiences engaged with specialist music, but for the financial return from music licensing. Many also fear that once we come through this crisis back towards normality, there is a risk that much of this valued and loved content may never return. 

English Folk Expo calls on the BBC to play their part in supporting specialist music, reinstate the axed shows, return the main national show to a more prominent time slot and make announcements on the annual Folk Awards (or equivalent replacement). It is during a crisis such as this that the licence fee payers expect the BBC to provide cultural leadership, not remove support from an industry already brought to its knees.

To read the full letter, visit https://www.englishfolkexpo.com/folk-on-the-bbc-an-open-letter/

Source: BBC Folk Music Programme Changes Criticised

Read more about British Folk Music on THE HOBBLEDEHOY


Listen to Olivia Chaney on JPR Live Session

Classically-trained singer/pianist Olivia Chaney graduated from England’s Royal Academy of Music, before teaching herself guitar and Indian harmonium, delving back to the inspiration behind the British folk revivalists. She has since built a loyal and growing following as a songwriter and interpreter, both in the UK and internationally, through her acclaimed and eclectic live performances and much lauded recorded works.

In 2013, Olivia self-released an eponymous EP, that was followed by her critically-acclaimed 2015 Nonesuch debut, The Longest River. The latter, which The Guardian hailed as ‘an enchanting and stately creation‘, was noted in a number of ‘Best Of 2015’ lists, whilst The Independent featured it in their Top 5 Albums of the Year, calling it ‘A landmark release‘.

Last year Olivia featured on two collaborative albums: the first – Folk Songs – with fellow Nonesuch artists; Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon and Kronos Quartet; and the second – The Queen of Hearts – by Offa Rex, an album by a new band formed between Olivia and The Decemberists, which was nominated for a Grammy at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in the ‘’Best Folk Album’ category.

On June 15, 2018, Nonesuch released Olivia’s second solo album – Shelter. Already applauded as a sophomore triumph, the media are saying: ‘even the simplest arrangements seem to ooze with an inherently fluid musicality. From the deathless serenity of the opening title track to the neo-classical closer “House On The Hill”, here is transcendent refuge from the storm.’ – Uncut; ‘A finely wrought piece of work, with Chaney’s swooping delivery turning songs into dramas. An elegant, luminous album.’ – Observer; ‘A beautifully haunting meditation on the human condition.’ – Sun; ‘The ravishing follow-up to the Chaney’s acclaimed debut is an exercise in bejewelled simplicity. Chaney’s clear resonating voice is a superlative means to convey this eagle-eyed observer’s tender intimations like Dragonfly and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. A triumph.‘ – Daily Mirror.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW at: JPR Live Session: Olivia Chaney