Matthew Bannister goes walking with a leading folk musician in a landscape that has inspired them. They sing and play exclusive acoustic songs on location.
Official Folk Albums Chart Show – 4th January 2021
This month’s show has special performances by Kris Drever, Kate Rusby and Sam Lee plus an interview with Fairport Convention’s Simon Nicol and music from Sam Sweeney, Fay Hield, Barbara Dickson, Shirley Collins and Laura Marling. As usual, a great way to keep up to date with all the amazing folk music being made across the UK and Ireland right now.
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Richard Thompson in Muswell Hill (and other parts of London)
The legendary guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson (who celebrated his 70th birthday in 2019) takes Matthew Bannister for a walk around the areas of London where he grew up, began playing the guitar, formed Fairport Convention (inventing English folk rock) and joined the vibrant music scene of the 1960s. On the steps of his old school in Highgate Richard sings “Man With Money” by the Everly Brothers which he used to perform with the band he formed at the school. In Highgate Woods he sings his classic lament for lost love and the travelling life: “Beeswing” as well as a new song written during lockdown: “If I Could Live My Life Again”. Outside the house called “Fairport” that gave the band its name, Richard gives us an emotional version of “Meet On The Ledge”. Then it’s on to Wardour Street in Soho, site of the famous Marquee Club, for “Walking The Long Miles Home” as he recalls walking ten miles back to his parents’ home in the early hours of the morning after gigs. Finally we are in the Lamb and Flag pub in Covent Garden where Richard describes an encounter with a drunken Irish tenor that inspired his song “Josef Locke”. Along the way Richard reflects on song writing technique, remembers playing with Jimi Hendrix, tells how his Mum and Dad never really understood his success as a musician and relates how the seminal album “Liege and Lief” was the band’s way of dealing with “PTSD” after a car crash that killed his girlfriend Jeannie Franklyn and the drummer Martin Lamble.
It’s a fascinating insight into the early influences of one of our most creative musical talents.
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6 Songs from Season 5
A selection of unique performances recorded on location for Folk on Foot by Frank Turner, Kitty Macfarlane, Chris Wood, Johnny Flynn, Ninebarrow and O’Hooley and Tidow. If you’ve already heard all their episodes it’s a great way to re-live the experience and if you haven’t it could tempt you to explore artists whose music is new to you.
O'Hooley & Tidow in the Colne Valley
Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow created one of the most memorable sets of our summer Festivals, filmed at their home in the village of Golcar in West Yorkshire. They have an uncanny ability to move you to tears one moment then have you roaring with laughter the next.
In summer 2020 they were planning to capitalise on the new found fame caused by having their song “Gentleman Jack” as the theme tune of Sally Wainwright’s hit BBC One period drama based on the life of Anne Lister. But the lockdown put paid to all the touring they’d planned. So they stayed at home in the beautiful Colne Valley, taking full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy watching their one year old son Flynn grow and learn.
On our walk along the canal (with Flynn in the sling) they share the lullabies they use to soothe him to sleep. They also sing “Colne Valley Hearts” which celebrates the many characters they’ve met in the area and “The Hum” which responds to the noise of a local factory. We end up at the Dark Woods Coffee Roastery where there’s a delicious Americano and a handy piano for Belinda to play.
As we walk on they spot a wonderful acoustic under a bridge, so Belinda unpacks her accordion and the duo give a poignant performance of Richard Thompson’s “Down Where The Drunkards Roll”. Along the way we hear the story of their very different musical childhoods, how Heidi overcame her fear of singing in public and how they met. Join us for a warm conversation with two of the UK folk scene’s most original talents.
Ninebarrow at Nine Barrow Down
The multi award winning Dorset duo Ninebarrow take Matthew Bannister for a walk in the glorious countryside of the Isle of Purbeck.
Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere have known each other since they were twelve years old. They are a musical and personal partnership – a singing duo and a married couple. They love walking and they are not averse to a spot of open air singing too. In fact, they run Ninebarrow walking holidays – inviting fans to join them in tramping the Dorset hills and vales and sharing their music each evening. They’ve even published a book of their favourite Dorset walks. So who better to relate the history of Corfe Castle – ruined since it was blown up by Oliver Cromwell’s men during the English Civil War - or to share some Dorset dialect in the poetry of William Barnes which they’ve set to music?
Their exquisite harmonies ring out across the Bronze Age burial mounds at Nine Barrow Down (which gave the band its name) as they savour the spectacular view of Poole Harbour, Swanage and the Isle of Wight. They end up in St James’s Church in the village of Kingston which is known as the “cathedral of Purbeck” for its large size and lavish decoration and Jon and Jay sing “Row On” in the wonderful acoustic of this special building. Another atmospheric walk with two engaging and creative musicians.
Johnny Flynn on the Hackney Marshes
Johnny Flynn is a talented stage and screen actor who is also a wonderful musician. You may have heard his theme tune for the brilliant TV comedy Detectorists, or seen him on the big screen in the recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, or on stage alongside Sir Mark Rylance in the acclaimed play “Jerusalem”.
In our first post lockdown episode, Johnny takes Matthew Bannister for a walk on the Hackney Marshes, a huge expanse of public land which has no fewer than 88 football pitches alongside a nature reserve which has grown up in disused gravel pits. As well as singing his distinctive, haunting songs, Johnny relates his near miss with a bear on the Camino to Santiago and talks about his friendship with the nature writer Robert Macfarlane.
He tells Matthew about his father - who was an actor and singer – about his own boyhood experiences of being a choral scholar at Winchester and the revelation of discovering Bob Dylan’s music as a teenager. On song writing, Johnny says “It’s easier to produce complex music, but much harder to make music that sounds just right in its simplicity”. Another fascinating conversation with one of the UK’s most creative performers.