Joe Pug – Hymn #101

I’ve been a fan of Joe Pug‘s music ever since I answered an ad offering free demo CD’s of his debut Nation of Heat EP a few years back and discovered an incredibly astute, intriguing and powerfully poetic singer-songwriter and finger-picking guitarist. I’ve seen him play live four times since then, and every show has attracted a bigger and noisier audience than the last.

I’m pretty sure that ‘Hymn #101′ was the opening track of that EP and so the first Joe Pug song I heard. I must have heard it over a hundred times since and it’s always been a firm favourite. But I didn’t realise there was an official video (above) until I stumbled across it on YouTube a few weeks back.

Here’s a more recent version of ‘Hymn #101′, recorded for a live session in 2012:

You can download ‘Hymn #101′ and four other tracks as part of Joe’s free online sampler from

More Information:

Label: Lightning Rod Records
Twitter: @joepug

Lucy Ward – The Last Pirouette

Just released last week – here’s the official video for Lucy Ward‘s ‘The Last Pirouette’ from her 2013 album Single Flame.

Lucy’s a Northern lass with a clear vocal style and a fine storyteller’s song-writing touch. One of my favourite new folk(ish) singer-songwriter discoveries of the past couple of years.

More Information

Label: Navigator Records
Twitter: @LucyWardSings

Earworms, October 2013

Here’s a selection of folk, blues, acoustic etc. songs and/or tunes – brand new, new to me and old favourites alike – that caught my ear during October 2013.

This month’s round-up includes The Full English, Kris Drever, Charlie Parr, Lady Maisery, Lucy Ward, David Ford, Jason Isbell, Brian Wright, Cat Power, Blair Dunlop, Punch Brothers, Laura Marling, Mark Lanegan, Martyn Joseph, Abigail Washburn and Martin Simpson.

Check out the artists’ pages on Spotify for more from all of the above.

Treacherous Orchestra – Hounds

Scottish folk supergroup Treacherous Orchestra performs ‘Hounds’ from their 2012 debut album Origins, live at the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards show in Glasgow earlier this year.

Something that folk music seems to do better than most other musical styles and genres is deliver up-tempo instrumental music that’s big, modern, energetic, intriguing and, above all, engaging. Treacherous Orchestra are particularly fine proponents of just that sort of thing, as are Bellowhead and The Imagined Village.

More Information

Label: Navigator Records
Twitter: @treacherouso

William Elliott Whitmore – Old Devils

William Elliott Whitmore performs stand-out track ‘Old Devils’ from his 2008 album Animals in the Dark, in a live session for Seattle’s KEXP Radio recorded back in 2009.

More Information:

Label: Anti-
Wikipedia: William Elliott Whitmore

Barley to Beer, via Hawkshead Brewery

‘Barley to Beer’ is a rather excellent promotional video for the brewing industry. A simple but effective explanation of the beer production process. No hyperbole. No unnecessary gloss and PR spin. Just maltsters, hop-growers and brewers explaining how they do what they do so well.

My New Online Project: the Greater Manchester Ale News Network

The Greater Manchester Ale News NetworkJust a very quick note to say that whilst Folk & Ale still remains in hiatus for the foreseeable, I have started up a new beer-related online project: the Greater Manchester Ale News Network, which you’re cordially invited to visit, if you should feel that way inclined.

The aim of the new project is to collect, collate and curate news, reviews, events and other bits and bobs of potential interest to the real ale and craft beer lovers of the Greater Manchester area (and beyond). Part beer blog, part news engine, part What’s On guide. That sort of thing.

Feedback would be hugely welcome, and if you felt like following any of the site’s associated social media channels, links are provided on the homepage.