Category Archives: For Folk’s Sake


By ‘Folkdates’ I wish I meant ‘dates in which folk music was discussed and/or heard’ (I’m looking at you, Charlie Fink doppelgänger in the corner), but in this context I mean updates. Folk updates. Get it? Thankfully, the winter season seems to bring out the best in acoustic music; I guess it’s natural for folkies to get in the Christmas spirit, but there’s plenty of non-seasonal folk popping up as well, like Three Blind Wolves‘ new single ‘Parade’ on Spinner. Anyway, onto the updates:

Anyone who’s ever met me has probably heard about Folkroom, the label/folk night that showcases an increasingly wide variety of artists from ye olde Londontown. I visited one of their nights at The Queen’s Head when I visited London last year, and co-founder Stephen Thomas even wrote me a guest post a while back. I’m a fan.

For the holiday season, Folkroom artist Lucy Cait has been running an advent calendar on her new website, From giveaways to gingerbread recipes to new songs, these treats are way better than the usual advent offering of stale chocolates. Lucy’s music is the gift that keeps on giving, and she seems to have quite a bit up her sleeves for 2013.

My past few Christmases have been accompanied by the excellent For Folk’s Sake It’s Christmas albums, and this year is no exception. The latest version features some of my favorite up-and-coming UK folksters: Ellen and the Escapades, Tom Williams, Gerard & the Watchmen, Feldspar, Admiral Fallow, Gibson Bull, Stylusboy, and more.

Feldspar doesn’t just cover one of my favorite Christmas songs on the FFS album (‘In the Bleak Midwinter’), they’ve also released a video for awesome original track ‘The Flat and Paper Sky’. Watch the video below, and catch them at my all-time favorite London pub, The Old Queen’s Head, on January 16th.

Props to the old lady getting inked in the church.

Christmas Time (Is Here Again)

He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister: “How’m I Gonna Get Back Home”

I never really liked that song (the post title–not the above track, of course), but it’s nonetheless true: today being December 1st, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. So I thought I’d bring to your attention a few ways to give and receive this holiday season, folk-style.

You all know I’m a big fan of PledgeMusic. Besides my general enthusiasm for direct-to-fan anything, I happen to love a lot of the artists that end up on here. This holiday season, support some up-and-coming musicians in their creative endeavors–and get some awesome, unique merch while you’re at it. (I just got my signed Summer Camp tote, and I still can’t get over those brownies.) Although I’d encourage you to check out all the offerings on the site, I’ll highlight two:

He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister
LA sextet He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister describe themselves as “Flamboyant Folk, Glam-a-billy, Circus Rock, Vaudeville Pop, Cabaret Blues.” And truthfully, that’s about as succinct as it’ll get. The band is a rollicking good time, full of catchy tunes and a healthy dose of sass. They have some free downloads on Bandcamp–I dare you to listen to “How’m I Gonna Get Back Home” (above) and not love it. Dare you.

Right now the band needs a tour van, and you can help them out: in exchange, you can get them to play your wedding, give you tap dancing lessons, or (my favorite) go on a naked skydiving trip. Click the link above to see more and pledge.

Tom Williams & the Boat
English folk-rockers Tom Williams & the Boat borrow slightly from the Frank Turner style of anti-folk, but do so with a bit more youthful oomph. They’re partnering with Moshi Moshi (can’t go wrong with that, can you?) for their Too Slow follow-up, and want you to be a part of it. And part of the proceeds go to the charity Kent Air Ambulance, so your pledge will certainly outweigh any lingering Scrooge-iness. And getting a drum lesson, house gig, or painting (yes, painting) wouldn’t hurt either. Check the band’s website here and click the link above to pledge.

For Folk’s Sake It’s Christmas
The wonderful For Folk’s Sake are back with Christmas album Volume 2, and it’s nothing short of splendid. Featuring holiday tunes new and old, it features some of the finest folk artists on the scene–from Caitlin Rose and Cocos Lovers to the Leisure Society and Laura Boyle. The full track listing is below, but you can buy and listen on Bandcamp.

1. Howard Carter – Christmas Blues 03:09
2. The Leisure Society – Christmas Mistakes 03:48
3. Caitlin Rose with Keegan DeWitt – You Never Come Home For Christmas 02:58
4. Cocos Lovers – Christmas is Coming/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 02:02
5. Devon Sproule – Send Me To Coventry 03:49
6. Darren Hayman – Lost In The Snow 04:04
7. Paper Aeroplanes – In The Bleak Midwinter 03:06
8. Kathryn Williams & Neill MacColl – Christmas In Hell 03:27
9. Fiona Bevan – Love In A Cold Climate 03:45
10. Hollows – Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing 02:26
11. Adam Killip & Mi Mye – O Come All Ye Faithful 02:53
12. Laura Boyle – Silent Night 02:49

Tim Wheeler & Emmy the Great’s This Is Christmas
As I mentioned a while back, Emmy the Great and Ash’s Tim Wheeler have released This Is Christmas, an album of rocking new holiday tunes. It includes instant classics like “Jesus the Reindeer”, “Zombie Christmas”, and “Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)”. Any other Christmas party soundtrack is tame by comparison. To support the album and celebrate the December 1st-ness of today, Emmy and Tim have also released an online advent calendar–today’s offering, “Christmas Do’s and Don’t’s”, is below, but you should see the calendar just for kicks. And if you’re wondering about the frame in the video below, one of the holiday don’t’s is “don’t play naked twister with your family.” Sage advice, guys.

p.s. Yep Roc Records (Peggy Sue, Alessi’s Ark, Cheyenne Marie Mize, and more) has a sweet holiday sale going on now. Besides some theme albums and a free sampler, they’re offering free shipping on all US orders (through the 20th), and 15% off all orders (through the 31st) with the code HOHOHO.

Vote for My SXSW Panel! Pretty Please?

I am extremely excited to announce that voting for the SXSW 2012 Music Conference is now live. It closes Friday, September 2nd at 11:59pm CST. Here’s more information on the panel, and click here to read it and vote. Your help is greatly appreciated!

The Banjos are Coming!: Another British Invasion?
England is known for many things: Beckham, bad teeth, bewildering hats. But the Brits are also known for invading us—musically, that is—every couple of generations. The last British Invasion brought us not only the Beatles but also their melodious mates: a unique community of talented misfits and magpies that sailed in on the tailored coattails of the Fab Four. While I’m not about to claim that Mumford & Sons are bigger than the Beatles (let alone Jesus), I will argue that they’re part of a new British community making waves on this side of the Atlantic. Along with artists such as Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale, the waistcoated foursome come from a tight-knit network of mates producing folk-inspired music. This newfangled ‘new-folk’, and the collaborative community surrounding it, is uniquely English—and proving to be a much more successful export than those weird hats.

1. What does ‘new-folk’ actually MEAN, and how does it fit into the larger music industry?
2. Why has new-folk found such a large (and international) audience? What makes it accessible?
3. How has this community spurred its own growth?
4. What does the growth of this scene suggest about consumer attitudes toward authenticity, especially as it applies to acoustic and/or roots-style music?
5. What strategies–social media, extensive touring, etc–have helped these artists rise so rapidly?

Lynn Roberts, founder of For Folk’s Sake and queen of all things folk.
Kevin Molloy, head of TV at Rockfeedback and Lovelive, singer-songwriter, and all around folky (oh yeah, and he produced Johnny Flynn’s Kentucky Pill video, among other things).
Kev Jones, cofounder of Communion Music and one of the driving forces for all this great music.

James Vincent McMorrow Review on For Folk’s Sake

Already popular in his home country, Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow is quickly gaining a following in the rest of the world. His commercial yet sensitive material will woo even the grumbliest of folk fans; as Stephen of We Write Lists smartly put it, his music “could serve Radio 2 just as kindly as it would serve 6 Music”.

Check out my review of McMorrow’s debut album, Early in the Morning, at For Folk’s Sake. The album is already available in the US, and comes out in Europe on March 7th.

M Magazine: Young Folk, New Traditions

Photo courtesy of Broadcast 2000’s Joe Steer. This is currently my computer background.

For Folk’s Sake founder and all around awesome person Lynn Roberts recently wrote an article for M Magazine about new-folk’s steady rise in popularity. Guess who’s featured in it? Me! Needless to say I’m pretty excited to be in print, but I haven’t actually been able to get my literal or figurative hands on the text until today.

Lynn traces the roots of the ‘new-folk’ movement (and, of course, challenges that categorization) from its early Bosun’s Locker days to its present mainstream successes. To read the full article, click here.