Are You Listening? The Fierce and Powerful Wallis Bird

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Irish artist Wallis Bird has been enrapturing audiences for over a decade.

Nominated for a Choice Music Prize at home in 2017, she’s also been making big waves in mainland Europe. The same year saw her win the 2017 Deutsche Musikautorenpreis – a national award chosen by composers and awarded to their peers – a huge achievement for a non-German.

Now based in Berlin, Wallis released her fifth studio album ‘Home’ in September 2016 on Mount Silver Records / Caroline International, and has been touring relentlessly all over the world since its release. The ‘Home’ tour encompassed over 70 shows, with Wallis playing to audiences across Europe, Japan & Australia. On the Australian leg of the tour, Wallis gained a new fan in American artist Amanda Palmer, who tweeted repeatedly to her million-plus followers to go and catch a show. 

In 2016, she played a 12-hour free gig in aid of refugee charities in Berlin, even finding enough strength to play an encore. Never your average troubadour, Wallis already has two Meteor Awards (National Irish Music Prize) to her name, as well as a previous Choice nomination, and has toured with the likes of Rodrigo y Gabriela, Billy Bragg, The Gossip & Emilliana Torrini. Though you might not catch another 12-hour show anytime soon, you can be sure that few can enchant an audience the way she can.

The sheer visceral energy of Wallis Bird could kick-start an entire economy.” – The Irish Times

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A Sound Recommendation: Amythyst Kiah

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Anna Hedges Photography 

Born in Chattanooga and now based in Johnson City, Amythyst Kiah’s commanding stage presence is matched by her raw and powerful vocals—a deeply moving, hypnotic sound that stirs echoes of a distant and restless past.

Accompanied interchangeably with banjo, acoustic guitar, or a full band, her eclectic influences span decades, finding inspiration in old time music, alternative rock, folk, country, and blues.

Our Native Daughters, her recent collaboration with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell (Birds of Chicago), has delivered a full-length album produced by Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell, Songs of Our Native Daughters (out now on Smithsonian Folkways). NPR described the opening track, Black Myself, written by Amythyst, as “the simmering defiance of self-respect in the face of racism.”

The supergroup will hit the road in July with a series of special dates that include performances at Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture as well as Newport Folk Festival. Most recently, the group has been nominated for Duo/Group of the Year at the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards.

Amythyst regularly tours the United Kingdom and has performed at Celtic Connections, Southern Fried Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, and SummerTyne Americana Festival. She is a crowd favorite at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in the U.S. and has shined at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, and opening for artists such as the Indigo Girls, Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemons, Old Crow Medicine Show, First Aid Kit, Darrell Scott, and Tim O’Brien.

Provocative and fierce, Amythyst’s ability to cross boundaries is groundbreaking and simply unforgettable.

ARTIST LINKS

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The 58th Philadelphia Folk Festival In The Books

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Hot acts gave the sweltering heat a run on the Old Poole Farm for the 58th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, the first and oldest music festival in the country.

Headlining on Sunday night was David Crosby who was also celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock, which he also attended.  78 year old Crosby has sold over 30 million records and in addition to his solo career, was a founding member of both the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Crosby joined the Byrds in 1964. The Birds gave Bob Dylan his first number one hit in April 1965 with “Mr. Tambourine Man.

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Margo Price, an American country singer-songwriter based in Nashville, also performed yesterday, showcasing songs from her major debut solo album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter .  She then proceeded to burn down the stage with a rendition of Janis Joplin’s Move Over.

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Other acts included The Mavericks, Yola, Joan Osborne and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

 

 

 

Modern “Folk” – The East Pointers

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Band Members
Koady Chaisson – Banjo
Tim Chaisson – Fiddle
Jake Charron – Guitar

There’s a reason, beyond their dazzling musicianship and wildly entertaining live shows, that The East Pointers have connected with audiences right across the globe, making new, original roots music the hippest, most vibrant thing going.

The reason? The East Pointers – fiddler/singer Tim Chaisson, banjoist Koady Chaisson and guitarist Jake Charron – write about real life, sketching out its joys and sorrows in vivid strokes. That palpable authenticity makes their instrumental tunes practically cartwheel and infuses their lyric-driven songs with poignancy.

And it’s why listening to their brilliant and hotly anticipated second album What We Leave Behind – produced by East Coast-bred songwriter/producer Gordie Sampson – is akin to meeting up with an old friend.

Listen Here

As a follow-up to 2015’s internationally acclaimed, JUNO Award-winning debut Secret Victory, What We Leave Behind shares stories previously unheard but framed by a familiar context. The album reflects on the traditions of Canadian Celtic music, where it comes from, and what it means to the people, but also strides in new directions. With a captivating balance between their traditional-sounding instrumental tunes, and catchy radio-ready songs, The East Pointers reach out with open arms to a wide range of listeners, inviting them to discover a new love of folk music.

You can see them this weekend at the 58th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival.

ARTIST LINKS

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Nashville Beats: Sam Williams

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As the son of Hank Williams, Jr., Sam Williams inherited the gift of wondrous country lyricism and a vocal talent that his father believes is best in the family.” (CMT)

With a striking tone and poetic approach to songwriting, Williams is poised to leave his own legacy on Country Music, unafraid to push his own creative limits and break through the self-inflicted limitations that threaten the genre as a whole. Inspired by the tremendous growth of Nashville with artists like Margo Price, Tyler Childers, Ruston Kelly and more defying genre lines, the CMT “Indie You Need To Know” feels it’s his time to share his work.

Born in Nashville and raised on Highway 79 in Paris, TN, Williams cared more about sports than he did following in his father’s footsteps. Now 22, he’s found himself using poetry and songwriting as therapy to get out the things he needs to say, important to him that it’s straight from the heart. In 2016, he released his debut single “Darkwater” following up with “The Lost Grandchild’s Plea” in 2018, an ode to his grandparents he never knew, Hank and Audrey Williams.

Williams has a global publishing and artist development deal with Get It Done Music Entertainment (Missi Gallimore / Gary Borman) & Kobalt. He’s collaborated with writers Lori McKenna, Shawn Camp, Dan Tyminski, Jim Lauderdale, Mary Gauthier and more, penning over 40 songs in the past year.

The Singer/songwriter will cross the pond with GRAMMY® Award-nominated multi-platinum performer. Cam on her “Oh, The Places We’ll Go!” European tour.

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Williams shares, “I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity! I’ve never been on an official tour and I’ve never been to Europe. I’ve been manifesting the idea of it, and even writing songs about it, and to have it happening feels surreal. Cam is such a true talent and an overall graceful act and I’m so honored she chose me to join her. I’m so eager to see new places and to get to know those abroad, and I hope they’ll enjoy getting to know me, too.”

CLICK HERE TO FOR VIDEO

Williams released his current single, “Gemini” on June 21, the last day of Gemini season.

ARTIST LINKS

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Philly Beats: Singer-Songwriter Emily Drinker

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Photo: Will Drinker 

Emily Drinker is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Philadelphia.

She blends folk, soul, and pop with a ukulele, small backing band, and soulful 3 part harmonies through live looping.

In 2018, Emily was featured by NPR Music in their Tiny Desk On the Road tour as an opening act for Naia Izumi.

In 2017 she released her debut EP, performed to a sold out crowd at Bourbon and Branch in Philly, won the Philadelphia Songwriters Project contest, and performed at Firefly Music Festival.

Catch her at the Philly Folk Festival this Friday Aug 16 at 3pm on the Lobby stage,

ARTIST LINKS

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Another Sound Recommendation: The Soulful Country Sound of Yola

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Photo: Alysse Gafkjen

Yola’s debut album Walk Through Fire, produced by Dan Auerbach, is a genre-bending release from one of the most powerful emerging British voices in music today.

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PURCHASE WALK THROUGH FIRE

The singer/songwriter first came to the attention of Auerbach (The Black Keys) after a chain of people, starting with her manager, forwarded a video of her performing in Nashville that eventually found itself in Auerbach’s inbox.

Tastemaker media also saw promise in Yola’s early recordings and live performances in Nashville–NPR, Rolling Stone Country, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and Stereogum all praised Yola, comparing her to a diverse range of artists from the Staples Singers to Dolly Parton.

ARTIST LINKS

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