Interviews with people that write the music, sing the songs and make folk happen. A big 'thank you' to those kind enough to talk to FolkWords, discuss folk music and offer their views. Thank you for your thoughts and your time, it's much appreciated. Recent interviews are shown below, earlier interviews are here: 'Interview Archive'.
FolkWords talks to Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere, who are the folk duo Ninebarrow, about their ‘Home Lads Home’ project, their music and folk in general (with lots of laughter).
FW: Let’s talk about the single ‘Home Lads Home’ with Louise Jordan, what was the drive behind the project?
Jon: We’ve known Louise for quite a long time and we’ve been working through the idea of doing something musically together for a while. So we were over at her house sifting through books and manuscripts to maybe come up with some ideas. I think it was Jay that first discovered the poem that forms the basis of the lyric.
Jay: I just picked up the poem ‘Home Lads Home’ by Cicely Fox Smith and immediately fell in love with it. There was a resonance through
the words, especially with the recent remembrances of the First World War.
Jon: At that point we weren’t familiar with Cicely Fox Smith or her poetry, much less the adaptation by Hampshire based community musician Sarah Morgan, so it was quite new to us. However, as Jay says, the resonance was definitely there.
We're talking to one of our 'Album of the Month' winners, Sarah McQuaid about her latest album ‘Walking into White’ - we discuss some of the influences and inspirations that brought the album's songs to life and explore some of Sarah's views on music.
FW: Where do your influences originate – family, locations, experiences?
SM: The answer is probably a little of everything although that’s changed over the years. Looking back across the first three albums a pattern of influence begins to emerge. I was living in Ireland during the first album ‘When Two Lovers Meet’, which given my surroundings, was primarily traditional Irish material. At that time I hadn’t really thought of myself as a songwriter. Then, there was a distinct change with the second album ‘I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning’, when a more American influence appeared, with the inspiration of Appalachian music, old-time folk and people like Peggy Seeger. And then I moved to England and made ‘The Plum Tree and The Rose’.
That’s probably the time when I began thinking of myself as a songwriter and sitting down to write a song rather than waiting for inspiration to strike. ‘The Plum Tree and The Rose’ has more original songs and a distinct ‘English feel’ to it because I picked up the influences of the country’s history from buildings and places. They’re songs that mix personal feelings with imagination and the influence of my surroundings. And now with ‘Walking into White’ there’s another set of influences coming into play.
FolkWords talks to Tinderbox – Monique Houraghan and Dan Tucker – about the inspirations and influences behind their live album ‘Live At The Cottage’, the process of writing lyrics, reaching out to touch an audience and some of their plans for the future.
FW: How did the album ‘Live at The Cottage’ come about?
DT: Monique and I have been playing and writing together for 20 years or so. About eight years ago we started to work with guest musicians and the album ‘Golden’ is a perfect example of a full-band album. We started to hone things down and ended up as a trio with Bob Burke - we’ve been a trio on and off, but mostly on, for about four years now. For the last two years we’ve been saying: “Wouldn’t it be great to get this sound we’ve worked hard to create with the arrangements we’re doing now, onto a live album.” Despite that going round our heads we never really focused on a live album, our interest was more on studio albums to present new songs.
We got this gig to play at The Cottage in the middle of a tour, actually more of a ‘flow’ of live gigs than a tour, with a tight, polished sound we really liked. Dave Booth our producer asked if we minded if he recorded The Cottage gig, so although we were a little reluctant, we agreed.It turned out to be a small intimate gig, around 50 or 60 people. It was one of those ‘pin drop’ audiences and just lovely. Afterwards, we contacted Dave and asked to hear the recording. He sent us a recording taken from a microphone hanging above us and although it was pretty poor, when we listened we thought it might become a live album. We got back to Dave and asked if he would produce a live album. His response was: “That’s what I had in mind because not only do I have the feed from the ceiling mic, which picked up the audience, I’ve also recorded each of your tracks on the sound desk.” There was no going back, it was the beginning of a five or six month production process and we had the album.