A great gig in Brighton featuring three extraordinary songwriters and performers linked through a very impressive new home/hand-made label producing some fantastic limited edition CDs of obscure contemporary folk and blues. Essential stuff.
First up was The Great Park, who is Stephen Burch (right), tonight augmented by Sam Collins of Funes and Mid-West Blues (centre) and Laurence Collyer of the Diamond Family Archive (left). Stephen writes some brilliant gothic folk songs about broken relationships and other things, often in a faux rural setting, and with a subtle but mesmerising sense of melody. The two examples below are my current favourites from his ever-growing cannon.
Next up was Birdengine (above), who is one Lawry Tilbury playing strange ethereal ghostly rural folk tales which combine shear terror with enchantment. An original performer that is pretty hard to classify, there are elements of a Woody Guthrie and an itinerant folk singer, but from an imagination dredged up from somewhere in between the Railway Children and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
His excellent mini album I Fed Thee Rabbit Water is available now, and a new album is due later this year.
Finally, the extrordinary Men Diamler...
Men Diamler has an album out called Sea Shanties for the Far Inland, which kind of sums up his style, but then tells you nothing. He has a beautiful voice and sings his simple songs with a raw passion that is quite mesmerising. A performer the like of which is rarely seen, he cannot sit still and will leap into the audience to perform songs. Last night he played with 5 strings on his guitar, until he realised that one of his songs really needed the sixth string and so he stopped, and borrowed someone else's instrument. That kind of sums up the raw childlike innocence, but doesn't quite capture the anger (because he was really so sweet about it).
Looking a bit like Ewan McColl or one of those intense 1950s English folk singers, except that his songs are not political but about dogs and horses and girls. His album is excellent and his performances are manic. Catch him if you can.
For more, go here: Woodland recordings