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Flyinshoes Review

Welcome to FSR our Roots Music Reviewers & Pod/broadcasters Community

If you haven’t hosted a House Concert yet, please make it a new year’s resolution!

Why not invite your favourite independent musician to play for your friends family and his fans in your front room, I’ll be surprised if he/she won’t show up sometime this year and play for you, let me know about it and if The Medicine Show Radio Moose Mobile is loose is near enough we’ll come and broadcast it too. If you would like to help keep the wheels on the Hub and on The Moose become a patron at

Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen

              James Varda is a rare bird indeed, a folk singer who makes an impact with an album and then disappears from view completely. It happened after 1989’s Hunger and then again after 2004’s In The Valley. His debut album attracted a lot of attention and resulted in an appearance at Cambridge Folk Festival, amongst other things, but then…? His publicity makes no attempt to explain what happened to his muse (or his music-making) in the long gap between the first two albums and the slightly shorter gap between 2004 and this new collection of songs. Reading between the lines of this rather beautiful new album you might assume any number of reasons that might affect a sensitive soul, driven to make music but filled with distaste for what it takes to put your music out into the world.  No matter, really, because it’s a precious thing to hear the voice of a man making music entirely on his own terms.

                One way and another, these songs seem to be a search for something worth holding onto in the midst of a life that is a maelstrom of doubt and uncertainty – personal and collective.  Occasional hints of New Age spiritualism apart, James reaches out in these songs to the natural world and the turn of the seasons. In particular, the songs are rooted in the fields and lanes of Dedham Vale in Sussex, photographs of which grace the album’s accompanying booklet. Given that this was the location of John Constable’s famous paintings, still deeply rooted in the English psyche, there’s a strong sense of reaching for a timeless identity that springs from the landscape in which we live.  There is balm to be found in being deeply aware of the physical world beyond human affairs and that is what he seeks here. Alongside that aspect of things, there is also the business of finding someone to share your life’s journey with and of realising that you have to continually work at that relationship. As he writes in When The Soft Night Falls, “It is not enough just to assume/That after all these years/Your heart is secure”.

                 There’s plenty here, then, for reflective people caught in the middle years of life to identify with.  As for the music, the overall vibe will be familiar to anyone weaned on Nick Drake and early John Martyn: beautiful acoustic guitar playing is augmented by the rich sounds of viola and bass. In James Varda’s case, the extra instrumentation also comes with harp and accordion from Fliss Jones and some occasionally busy percussion from his co-producer, Bugs and keyboardist/percussionist, Matty Moon. Overall, although that deep-toned introspection is never far away, this kind of feels more like a determinedly “up” album – “up” in the face of all the troubles that life can throw at you. He’s looking for, and finding, the beauty in life, and that is reflected in the music. Well worth seeking out, then, if you have a yen to hear a mature voice dealing intelligently with stuff that generally touches us all. 

I can't find any sign of gigs to promote the record or youtube footage to whet the appetite; I guess he's an artist we'll just have to appreciate on record.

John Davy

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The Medicine Show is the home of the House Concert here is our rolling news


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.

It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.

The House Concert Hub community will use it for the purpose of providing a online, all singing all dancing, review and preview area for the music of the community, and the music community at large. Have a look around tell your friends use the share button, tell the world.

We need reviewers, the idea is we have a correspondents in every area of the musical global village, it will be edited and co-ordinated by Rob Ellen of Medicine Music publicist promoter and presenter, if you wish to subscribe as a correspondent, join up here and drop Rob a line, he will send you cd's and send you to shows, display and publicise your content.

Here starts an other adventure.

  Visit The House Concert European Hub (& Acoustic Music Club Network)



1 1 108
HAYES CARLL / What It Is / Dualtone *MM, *SZ
2 -- 66
DANNY SCHMIDT / Standard Deviation / Live Once Records *JJ, *HdB,
*TK, *AN, *GS, *MF, *SP
3 2 53
PHIL LEE / The Horse He Rode In On / Palookaville Records *MP,
*PvG, *ME
4 -- 49
MERCY JOHN / Let It Go Easy / Butler *LK, *JD
5 3 45
THE DELINES/ Imperial / El Cortez *FSch
6 4 44
VICKY EMERSON / Steady Heart / Independent
7 -- 42
RYAN BINGHAM / American Love Song / Thirty Tigers *HB
8 6 36
SUZANNE JARVIE / In The Clear / Wolfe Island *CRS
9 24 35
KALYN FAY / Good Company / Horton *JV, *JBo
11 35
MANDOLIN ORANGE / Tides of a Teardrop / Yep Roc Records
11 -- 34
VARIOUS / Songs of Our Native Daughters / Smithsonian Folkways
*FCe, *PJ, *PK
12 8 28
TINY LEGS TIM / Elsewhere Bound / Independent *FB
-- 28
J.S. ONDARA / Tales of America / Verve Records *AL, *WV
14 -- 28
MADELEINE ROGER / Cottonwood / Independent *LM
15 -- 24
KIM LENZ / Slowly Speeding / Blue Star *MvP
-- 24
LILY & MADELEINE / Canterbury Girls / New West *TJ
17 12 23
LEYLA McCALLA / Capitalist Blues / Jazz Village *DH, *BH
18 -- 22
ETHAN JOHNS with The Black Eyed Dogs, Anamnesis, Three
Crows/Proper *RK, *JB
-- 22
LONG RYDERS / Psychedelic Country Soul / Cherry Red Records *JS
20 5 19
LULA WILES / What Will We Do / Smithsonian Folkways
21 -- 18
YOUNG VALLEY / Young Valley / Dial Back Sound *DHo, *CvL
-- 18
KERRI POWERS / Starseeds / Continental
23 -- 17
THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS / Easy Way / Walkie Talkie *KG
24 -- 16
DALE WATSON / Call Me Lucky / Red House *PR
-- 16
MICHAEL McDERMOTT / Orphans / Pauper Sky *JDoel *

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