Top Ten Records of 2012
I buy a lot of old music and I don’t always achieve ten current year purchases but the top records that I bought in
1. The Beachwood Sparks – Tarnished Gold
One of my favourite bands and this new album contains some truly beautiful Byrds like harmonies and pedal steel.
2. Jens Lekman – I know What Love Isn’t
One of my favourite songwriters, currently delving into heartbreak.
3. Beginner’s Guide to Country – Nascent Records
A great compilation covering Capitol Records’ country output from the 60s and 70s. Some very weird and rare country gospel songs that set the imagination running.
4. Sun Kil Moon – Among the Leaves
Another fine release from Mark Kozelek focussing on the trials of the touring musician…I can relate.
5. Dr. Feelgood – All Through City
Not strictly new music for 2012 but this 4 CD box set complete with all recordings, TV appearances and book covering the Wilko Johnson years is great for anyone wanting to get a complete overview of early Feelgood.
6. Bob Dylan – Tempest
Lyrically I thought Tempest was an interesting turn for Bob Dylan and I am sure this is the first time he swears on record? And he does it a few times.
7. Folk Police Recordings Compilation - Weirdlore
A wonderful compilation of English leftfield folk.
8. Marie Sioux/ Bonnie Prince Billy – Love Skulls EP
I bought this on limited edition vinyl while on tour in April. I had to keep it safe for two weeks and it was well worth it. Love Skulls is one of my favourite songs of 2012…mystical, mesmerising, beautiful, dramatic.
9. Simone Felice – Simone Felice
I toured this album a lot this year. It’s dark and touching in equal measure.
10. Kate Denny – Closer to Home
Kate is a fantastic English folk artist who I am lucky to know. This album is well worth a spin.
Top Festivals of 2012
I only get to go to festivals to play so here are my top experiences of 2012:
1. The Big Sessions Festival – Derbyshire
A fantastically laid back folk orientated festival with great beers and an eclectic mix of music. Nearly succumbed to flooding! (Played with The Whispering Pines and The Lucky Strikes)
2. Leigh Folk Festival – Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
My hometown and also a real treat for finding weird and interesting folk artists. The Lucky Strikes were invited to play the main stage and I played a solo show in the gloriously intimate scout hut.
3. Off The Tracks Festival – Derbyshire
Housed in the grounds of a hotel and surrounded by cornfields the Lucky Strikes enjoyed an early set here. It’s been running for years and it seems very much a festival to go and party.
In late March I braved the record breaking heat of
5. HMV Next Big Thing Festival –
One of the loudest gigs I have ever played. The Lucky Strikes braved the ice and snow to play a special show at the Garage in Islington.
6. RugFest –
Such a memorable gig. Playing ‘The Ghost and The Actress’ while rugby players and audience members waltzed in a rainy field close to midnight.