DKOS Sat 22nd Jan 2022
Jen Ella / Paper Sparrows / Misty River / Douglas Kay / Holiday Club
Jen Ella Sat 22nd Jan 2022
1 Alien / 2 Sway Me Now / 3 Lipstick Queen / 4 Under The Apple Tree
Jen Ella is a singer songwriter and musician from Cork, Ireland who currently resides in Glasgow. She infuses folk and indie styles in to her music. She writes about her personal life implementing tales from love, travel, growing up in Ireland, history and relationships. Following success this year making BBC sounds air play twice with her two tracks ‘Eyes for you’ and ‘Lipstick Queen’ she is now set to release new music in November. She became the Scotsman’s Arts Artist of the week and her track Lipstick Queen was Hotpress magazines track of the week. Along with that her music has been played on international radio such as amazing radio and featured in many articles across Scotland and Ireland with her previous EP Spoken words making the RTE radio 1 playlist. Gracing the Celtic connection stage back in 2019 she is now working towards releasing her new EP “Following my path to freedom’’ in the near future. Jen Ella is now back on the road playing various events such as southside fringe, endless summer sessions and Queen park summer sessions.
Paper Sparrows Sat 22nd Jan 2022
1 Tears Like Silver / 2 This Little Room / 3 Sunday Shoes / 4 Dance In The Ashes
Paper Sparrows are a contemporary folk/Americana trio from Edinburgh.
Songwriters David Hershaw and Ross Fairbairn developed their distinctive twin acoustic guitar style over years of joint song-writing, and were later joined by double- bassist supremo Colin Morris. Their arrangements draw upon the work of 60s folk-revivalists such as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Dylan and Donovan up-to contemporary acts such as Dave Rawlings, Kris Drever and the Milk Carton Kids.
The story began with Ross inviting David to play his club, Folksville, at Edinburgh’s Waverley Bar back in 2015. The story goes that David hounded Ross for several months for a jam session. Upon finally indulging David, after a small amount of time had elapsed, Ross made a beeline for the exit when he asked him to “play that piece again!” He did, and Sunday Shoes (which features on the band’s debut EP) and Paper Sparrows were born. They continued as a duo until persuading/tricking long-time collaborator, Colin, into joining them on double bass. Colin and Ross had played in numerous bands together over the years – and the three were close friends outside of music – so becoming a trio was an easy step and one which lead the band to taking a more serious approach: building up a back catalogue of self-penned material and on to recording their debut EP and album.
Misty River Sat 22nd Jan 2022
1 Here Comes The Rain / 2 This Dance / 3 Running On Empty / 4 Walk Me To The River
Misty River is the creation of London-based singer-songwriter Carmen Phelan, with her husband, musician-producer Adam Morley. As the daughter of immigrants – her father is from Dublin and her mother from Trinidad – Phelan spent her childhood between London and the US, her musical upbringing spanning everything from classical to ceilidh and bluegrass to pop.
A childhood prodigy, Phelan won a place at a classical conservatoire but never felt she fitted in there. Her teachers told her to stop playing trad music in case it ruined her technique, and after three unhappy years – and with Morley’s support – she “ran away” to immerse herself in Irish fiddling in the west coast towns of Cork and Kerry.
“It was the first time I felt completely accepted,” says Phelan, whose mixed-race background and Dublin accent had caused raised eyebrows when she was younger. “Because of my looks, I’ve been asked if I’m from everywhere: South America, Asia, the Middle East. But when I went to Ireland, no one said I wasn’t Irish. It was a really different feeling from then on: it changed my perspective on music and myself.”
Phelan has been a sought-after violinist and fiddler for years, touring with acts as diverse as The Corrs and The Kooks, performing on stage and television with artists from Serj Tankien to Sinead O’Connor. In her early 30s, after pains in her hands were followed with loss of mobility and a long period of illness, doctors diagnosed her with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
“At that point it looked like I wouldn’t be able to play any more, and that impacted my outlook on life,” says Phelan. “I was aware of how quickly things might be taken away at any stage. That uncertainty gave me a sense that now was the time to get on with things.”
It was then she began writing, and found her own voice – quite literally. “I started singing about five years ago, and one of the reasons my voice is so unusual is that my condition affects my vocal chords too.”
“Take This Dance” won immediate acclaim and industry offers, but it was only after she took an unplanned hiatus to have her first child that she found the self-belief to make the record she wanted. It brought her into musical partnership with her husband, too.
For Misty River, Morley is her sounding board, her editor, her arranger, her producer – and her dobro player. “I used to have this idea that work and life should be separate,” says Phelan, “but we work together so well. If he’s enthusiastic about a song I keep going, and the things he has doubts are usually the things I quietly have doubts about already.”
As brutally honest as they are beautifully evocative, Phelan admits her songs are usually inspired by personal experience. “But to Adam’s credit he’s never asked what any of them are about, ever,” smiles Phelan. “Which is probably the best thing for our relationship!”
Douglas Kay Sat 22nd Jan 2022
1 Strike Me Down Douglas / 2 The Sycamores / 3 The Street Dragging Us Down / 4 At My Best
Singer-songwriter Douglas Kay (“Thoughtful & passionate songwriting” – Scotland On Sunday) has spent the past two decades recording, touring the globe and playing on bills alongside the likes of Billy Bragg, KT Tunstall, Colin Hay and Amy MacDonald.
The wealth of experience gained on stage has seen Kay develop into a hugely engaging live performer and formidable songwriter whose captivating, folk-tinged songs have gained critical acclaim and airplay worldwide.
November 2021 saw the release of Kay’s 6th album, Heist On A Bike. The 12 tracks contained therein showcase a songwriter/performer who is as much at ease in the studio as he is in the live arena, as he weaves together an absorbing work which demonstrates his assuredness across a variety of genres.
With live music halted during the 2020 lockdown, Douglas joined with a group of fellow songwriters – affectionately referred to as the Mutual Slating Society – to engage in weekly Zoom sessions during which each writer would perform a brand new composition for the others to critique. From these sessions emerged a clutch of songs which would form the basis of this new album.
Recorded in Highland Perthshire during spring & summer of 2021, it was very much a solo project with Kay writing, playing and producing. There is, however, a stunning vocal contribution from Douglas’ sometime live collaborator Carol Laula on the wistful track At My Best – a song based around a simple acoustic guitar hook which sees the elderly narrator ruing how the achievements of life are overlooked by others in old age. The other outside contribution comes with an appearance by South London saxophonist Chris Smallwood on the album closer, Stay With Me, a piano ballad written in tribute to Douglas’ father.
Elsewhere on the album Kay flexes his electric guitar-playing muscles with the pumping, riff-driven Kick Out The Fire, the melodic rocker Break Us Apart and the raw, bluesy When The Devils Come. He also develops his use of vocal harmonies with multi-layered, Queen-inspired voices on Magnificent and on Nearer To Home, while the counterpoint vocal melodies on Run Aground and the mandolin-driven, country romp Strike Me Down hint at the influence of Crowded House and Simon & Garfunkel. Throughout, it’s Kay’s distinctive voice, memorable melodies and captivating lyrics which combine to deliver such a rewarding listening experience.
In addition to solo recording, Douglas has undertaken numerous other projects in recent years.
Collaborations with others have seen him record with Adam Holmes for BBC Radio 2 and record backing vocals on Rebuild the Universe by Australian band, The Winter Migration.
Douglas has also recorded and performed with his traditional folk duo, The Sorries, an undertaking which has not only seen the pair play countless sell out shows everywhere from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to Moscow, but has also seen them deliver lectures and produce podcasts where they explain something of the origins of Scotland’s traditional songs.
Holiday Club Sat 22nd Jan 2022
1 Party Dragon / 2 Slippery Polkas / 3 Arthurs Hill / 4 Frites
In 2018, a few pals in Edinburgh realised they suffered a sore lack of tunes and piña coladas in the sun. Such a clear vision meant they found themselves sunbathing, performing and enjoying the riches of free life around Spain, Germany, Austria, France, Portugal, Cyprus and The Netherlands for the next two years, making many more pals and learning lots of new tunes along the way.
Holiday Club is fore fronted by flute player Freya Rae and fiddler Luisa Brown as composers and performers alongside a top notch roster of bodhran players and guitarists. In addition, the band are proud to feel progressive in the industry, with 100% track record representing an equal gender mix alongside their unique, mostly ‘word-of-mouth’… marketing approach.
Whilst the current holiday business model has become hard to sustain… the band are keen to make the very most of all staycation opportunities in their homeland.