February 4 2018 is the 1st International House Concert Day, The European House Concert Hub and FSR are celebrating by organising the 1st International House Concert Festival. Talk to Rob Ellen if you would like to be involved.

 

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CATHRYN CRAIG & BRIAN WILLOUGHBY —IN AMERICA (Cabritunes / Self-released)

 

www.craigandwilloughby.com

 

In America is the biggest project to date from performing duo of Virginia-born vocalist Cathryn Craig and mercurial guitarist, long-time Strawbs' member Brian Willoughby. For not only was the record produced with Thomm Jutz (Mary Gauthier, Eric Brace & Peter Cooper…) and have the multi-talent play guitar alongside the seamless work of innovative guitar ace Willoughby but you also have Nashville musicians Brent Moyer, Ron de la Vega (Nanci Griffith), Richard Bailey (Steeldrivers) and Jeff Taylor on accordion and whistles but the concept album is served, superbly by material steeped in a migratory feel.

 

Craig and Willoughby are especially impressive and strong on the material of a Celtic hue. As in opening song, lilting piece “Curragh” and superb “Malahide Moon” (a story about Brian and his dad’s love of British motorcycles). While with infectious strains of accordion washing over it “These Old Stone Walls” has Willoughby speak of something his 86-year-old old uncle Tom said as they were traveling through Donegal on their trip around Ireland. The duo grasp hold of some of Ireland’s historic charm with both hands, as alongside their gypsy band of musicians they travel in mind down its western shores. Savaged back in the mid-1800s by the potato famine that sparked a big emigration to America and Australia there are places along which that do have a good many stories to tell. It is a beautiful piece, and with Craig’s flowing tones riding on the feel fired by the players it is a song you don’t want to end, and at the same time feel sorry for whatever comes next. It being such a hard act to follow. On this occasion we have the ideal song in banjo, slide guitar laced “Bullet”; showing greater urgency than on any other song the combination work a treat. To the degree I am tempted to suggest more of the same wouldn’t have come amiss! 

 

As for the others Craig’s voice delivers the poetic “Eyes Open Wide” in beautiful fashion, and on bringing Wyoming musician, songwriter Moyer in to lend a hand on the writing front “We’re Walking Each Other Home” (complete with sensitive guitar from BW, BM and TJ) the listener can’t help but be elevated by the wondrous piece. The feeling is carried forth in the following song “The Fire” (the first song the duo wrote for Willoughby’s solo album, Black & White), and with the trio plus Andy Reiss (guitar) they repeat their superb work, and also have De la Vega’s cello work up a little magic to where I was held in awe at the music.  

 

“Whatever Is For You” with it’s Celtic lift, accordion, whistle and mandola etc it has an uplifting feel, and with Craig playing her part it opens the gate for a tale about how there are millions with contented minds without a desire for more than they need in “The Middle”. “One More Song” contains some bluegrass sounding banjo and is the only import on the record; written by friends Val and Jimmy Montieth-Towler of Jiva it rounds off the record with a spring in it’s step. Only for there to be an additional four tracks; which include covers of classic songs “You’ve Lost The Lovin’ Feelin’, “Those Were The Days” (from when he played with Welsh songbird Mary Hopkin) and versions of one of the finest compositions they have ever written, “Alice’s Song” and with some slice pickin’ “I Will”. Song they felt they just had to record when they had such a fantastic set of musicians congregated with nothing better to do. Enjoy.

 

                                                Maurice Hope     

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

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www.euroamericanachart.eu

1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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