It's one of the tours of the year - a folk-rocking double-headline tour from English multi-instrumentalist, virtuoso fiddler Seth Lakeman and Australia's own international troubadour Carus Thompson. Both artists are playing The Byron Bluesfest and being firm friends and touring buddies the time was right for this capital city tour of intimate venues.
It's Seth's first ever visit to Australia and he's sure to blow people's minds with his gritty song writing and captivating, energetic and undeniably compelling live show.
In the UK Seth has sold over 250,000 records and been credited with bringing folk music to a whole new audience since his debut album, Kitty Jay, was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2005. His second album Freedom Fields, saw him signed to EMI's Relentless Records, alongside the likes of KT Tunstall and Joss Stone.
He crossed over into mainstream radio play and knock-out performances at all the major UK and European festivals, including Glastonbury, and was named "Folk Singer of The Year" and given "Album of the Year" at the BBC's Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2007.
Without a doubt Seth Lakeman and his music broke down perceptions and barriers often associated with Folk music and it's acceptance (or lack of) in the mainstream. Bands like Mumford and Sons that have come since have enjoyed a much greater appreciation for Folk music and it's nuances than existed when Seth first amazed people with his incredible violin playing back in 2005, earning himself the "Poster boy of Folk" tag(much to his exasperation).
Seth comes to Australia with his 6th album Tales From the Barrel House in tow. This new collection of songs underlines Seth's innate knack for writing both foot-stomping, sing-along songs and more tender, thoughtful ballads. His bow-shredding violin riffs are there, as are his driving tenor guitar rhythms, but it's the new primitive sounds he's conjured that give this album it's atmospheric vibe.
If you love folk music, whether it be "trad-folk" or the "nu-folk" that now exists (in part thanks to Seth) then you must see Seth Lakeman, and if you just love music then you should still must see him - he's an amazing artist and live performer who knows how to get a room rocking.
Australia's own folk-roots rocker Carus Thompson needs no introduction. Now a veteran of the Oz touring circuit he shot to fame with the explosion of roots music, alongside Fremantle mates John Butler and The Waifs. However he's become much more than just "another roots act", his last three albums Three Boxes, Creature Of Habit and Caravan building his reputation as a gifted songwriter and storyteller, more akin to Paul Kelly, Tim Roger or Mick Thomas.
The last eight years have seen him touring non-stop across Europe, playing to a rapidly expanding fan base in Germany, France, Switzerland and The UK.
Seth and Carus have been mates since Carus' first tours in the UK. Seth hadn't yet been nominated for the Mercury Prize and was still relatively unknown. The two struck up a firm friendship that's lasted ever since (Seth plays on Carus' latest album Caravan). When Seth's Mercury nomination came through and he shot into the stratosphere he took Carus along with him - to date on three UK tours.
The most recent was last December which saw Carus earn the attention of the BBC Radio 2's "root's aficionado" Bob Harris and his new album Caravan getting some UK radio play!
Carus is one of the few fully independent Australian troubadours to be able to carve out a full-time living from his craft, years of touring at home and overseas have assured the he possesses the enviable ability to draw hundreds of people wherever he goes. It's not something he takes for granted, and, like Seth he always puts his all into every performance. Not stopping until the crowd have been engaged.... and rocked!
If you want to see two folk singer-songwriters, backed by their respective bands, from either side of the globe, who are highly experienced, accomplished, energetic and passionate live performers do not miss this tour. For Seth Lakeman fans it's a chance to see him playing on his first tour of Australia, in intimate venues a tenth the size of what he plays in the UK and for Carus Thompson fans you'll see him with his band, sharing the stage with one of his best mates.
Allan Browne presents most Monday nights at Bennetts Lane in his own poetic, magic and musical way (1st Monday of the month is for the Bennetts Lane BIG Band). Monday's are his platform for life, love and common (and not so common) psychological and philosophical quandries and the poeticism which forms in the eddies of music and the crevicesof spiritual hearts. He has a number of award winning projects that he presents but tonight is his larger ensemble - the mighty sextet featuring:
Allan Browne — drums / Eugene Ball — trumpet
Phillip Noy — saxophone / Geoff Hughes — guitar
Marc Hannaford — piano / Nick Haywood — bass
Allan has worked with over 35 International Jazz icons including Milt Jackson, Jay Mc Shann, Herb Ellis, Phil Woods, Al Cohn, Plas Johnson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Art Hodes, Barney Kessel, Urbie Green, Buddy Tate, Joe Newman, Mal.Waldren, Johnny Griffin, Scott Hamilton, Wild Bill Davidson, Urbie Green, Ronnie Scott, Charlie Bird, Ralph Sutton, Sheilah Jordan, Red Holloway, Emily Remla and Richie Cole. Many of these performers have left lasting impressions upon him and it is through the sexet that he lets us revisit with him just some of his most cherished musical memories. The project is a kind of jazz autobiography with only the juicy bits told first hand, and with collaborators who deeply understand his psyche. This is an opportunity to see history in the making as they move closer to their next recording and the launch of Allan's poetic works during the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.