Folk music has always had more than a passing acquaintance with the gorier side of life. Murder and gallows ballads have often been the most important and requested part of an artist's set. By comparison some albums forced to carry the parental advisory sticker are tame by comparison.
Journalist Paul Slade has written a number of excellent pieces on various murder ballads over the year and has compiled them on his excellent website. Do have a good look around when you get there, not just at the murder ballad section, it really is a fascinating website.
Whilst a number or murder and gallows ballads have become well known, many fell out of fashion or the original tunes have become long forgotten or barely remembered at all. Paul is looking for artists that might bring some of these songs back from the grave and get them sung again. There's a lot more detail here, http://www.planetslade.com/broadside-ballads-songs.html and from where I'm sat, it looks like an excellent project.
Talking of excellent projects, The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny An evening of classic songs by Sandy Denny featuring special guests Maddy Prior, Thea Gilmore, Joan Wasser (aka Joan As Police Woman), Green Gartside, PP Arnold, Dave Swarbrick, Jerry Donahue, Lavinia Blackwall, Sam Carter & Blair Dunlop, is going on tour in May.
This will be the first tribute tour to cover the complete range of her catalogue, including songs she recorded with Fairport Convention, The Strawbs, Fotheringay as well as her extensive solo catalogue. A lot more detail here. http://musicbeyondmainstream.org.uk
Whilst on dates, the second Bournemouth Folk Festival is almost upon us. An indoor festival concentrated around the BIC in Bournemouth and set over multiple stages and workshops, this has already expanded into a two day event, from a single day last year.
Bournemouth Folk Festival covers the broader definition of folk music, which is how we like it. with afternoon concerts by Martyn Joseph, Martha Tilston and Emily Barker and dancing to Ceilidh band Cut-A-Shine, The Moulettes and the Afro-Cuban Congolese rhythms of Grupo Lokito in the evening. Megan Henwood, Fearne and Alex Roberts are amongst other acts getting a run out.
There's also going to Morris sides and a whole host of workshops and other events. Bournemouth Folk Festival is running on the 23 and 24th or March. More details here. http://www.bournemouthfolkfestival.co.uk/index.htm
Further North and moving into April, 6th to 8th to be precise is the Third Barnsley Acoustic Roots Festival. With a line-up that incorporates great artists from both sides of the big pond. Edward II, Brass Monkey, Acoustic Gathering, The Shee, Tarras, Po Girl (Canada),
The Toy Hearts, Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart (USA), Patsy Matheson & Becky Mills
and Jessica Lawson, amongst others, definitely worth checking out. If you do need another incentive, how does free camping grab you?
http://www.barnsleyacoustic.co.uk/ for all your pricing details etc.
Finally if you haven't yet downloaded our current Fatea Showcase Session, link in right hand column, why not? If you have you'll already have a Robert Brown track in your collection and will already know what a stunning guitarist he is.
He's got a fantastic album, "Road Dog" out. More detail on which here http://www.robertbrownmusic.net/ and if you need more incentive, check out the video below.
The Fatea Showcase Sessions are a series of downloads featuring acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.
Click Here to get the latest session