UK News - Eva Cassidy tops the UK Charts
- Interview with Maddy Prior
- What's coming up
Best of the Rest of the UK Gigs
this month's biggest surprise is the news that Eva Cassidy's
posthumous album 'Songbird' has reached Number 1 in the UK Album
Chart, nearly 3 years after its original release on the small UK independent
label, Hot Records. Now in its second week at Number 1, amazingly it has been selling twice as many copies as The Manic Street Preachers'
album, currently at Number 2.
Old black and white footage of Eva playing 'Over the Rainbow' at Blues
Alley in Washington not long before her death in 1996, was even shown
on BBC's long running 'Top of the Pops' TV show last week. According
to Eva's friend Bryan McCulley, who was videotaping on the night the
album 'Live at Blues Alley' was recorded, "It was never shot to be shown as a music video, but hey, it's all we've got." Eva's cousin, Laura Bligh,
continues to tirelessly link all the articles as they flood in from all over the
world on her great website. Here's an example, a recent article about the
phenomenon in The [London] Times..
<- Eva Cassidy - Her albums, including 'Songbird', 'Live at Blues Alley' and most recently, 'Time After Time' are all released in North America on Blix Street Records
'Across the Pond' Interview with Maddy Prior
Some 37 years after her first appearance on the late sixties folk club
circuit, Maddy Prior is still one of the most enduring and respected
artists in British music, recently rewarded with an MBE in the New
Year's Honours List in recognition of her services to folk music.
After a long career as the renowned 'voice' of top UK folk rock band,
Steeleye Span, coupled with two marvellous collaborations with June
Tabor as The Silly Sisters and albums with The Carnival Band, Maddy
finally left Steeleye in 1997 to concentrate on her solo career, releasing
'Flesh & Blood', described at the time by Rock 'n' Reel magazine as
"magic, majestic, marvellous bloody marvellous." This was followed two
years later by 1999's 'Ravenchild', her 35th album in as many years,
which delved into the darker, more serious, side of traditional material.
"I've always liked the dark side....All this image of traditional music as
being jolly has always been a bit of a figment of most peoples'
imagination", she said in an interview with Michael Hunter on the
Green Man Review site. And now, hot on the heels of this January's live
album, 'Ballads & Candles' (which included Steeleye Span stalwarts
Peter Knight on fiddle and Rick Kemp on bass, along with June Tabor,
with whom she had not sung since The Silly Sister days nearly ten years
earlier, and also featuring the recording debut of Maddy's 15 year-old
daughter, Rose Kemp) comes news of a brand new album 'Arthur The
King' and a 26 date UK tour throughout April and early May. I asked
Maddy about the new album.
PC: "Hi Maddy. Can you tell me a little about 'Arthur The King'?"
MP: "Hi Paul. The album's centrepiece is an extended-song cycle
about the historical King Arthur. I wanted to approach the original
Arthur through what we know from archaeology and history. Our
modern image of him derives from the Arthurian romances from the
12th century, very much mystical and ethereal. Arthur was a
warrior-king at a time of huge change. I've aimed to bring that to
life, in flesh, blood, fur and metal!"
PC: "It's great to see you out there, still touring regularly, after all
these years. This is a long tour - you obviously still really enjoy it -
will you playing mainly material from the new album?"
MP: "On the tour I'll be striking a balance between the two - songs
from the new album alongside some of my favourites from down the
PC: "Who will be in the band with you this time?
MP: "Nick Holland [keyboards] and Troy Donockley [uillean pipes,
guitars, cittern and whistle]. We've toured together since the 'Flesh
and Blood' tour in 1997."
PC: "Any other projects coming up this year? I was hoping that your
reunion with June Tabor on 'Ballads and Candles' might have inspired
another 'Silly Sisters' album."
MP: "It would be great if the chance came up, but with both of us so
busy it's not very likely at the moment. I'm recording another album with
the Carnival Band later this year, and going out on another Christmas tour."
PC: "Any news of any up-coming US tours?"
MP: "Nothing at the moment, but I'll keep you updated!"
PC: "Many thanks, Maddy. Hope you have a ball on the tour and all best
wishes for 'Arthur The King'"
MP: "Thank you."
Photo: 'Arthur The King' album cover
Note: Anyone interested in researching the history of King Arthur
will find many useful links at this 'about.com' site entitled "King Arthur:
Real Man or Mythical Legend"
Plenty coming up in the months ahead - with Martin Carthy celebrating
his 60th birthday in May with a special concert at The Oxford Apollo
Theatre, with Fairport Convention, Dave Swarbrick, Brass Monkey,
Waterson: Carthy, Ashley Hutchings and Maddy Prior, amongst others.
Also, the end of May sees the release of Kate Rusby's long anticipated
3rd solo album, 'Little Lights', once again produced by Kate's partner,
Scottish fiddle player, John McCusker of the Battlefield Band ..
Over from America in May and June, Mary
Chapin Carpenter tours
with Shawn Colvin, whilst Neil Young and Crazy Horse tour Europe,
headlining this year's London Fleadh, along with Aimee Mann, in June.
Please check out the UK gig and festival previews below. This month's
North American visitors include Mark Mulcahy, Oh Susanna,
Jay Farrar, Doug Hoekstra, Gretchen Peters, Tom Ovans,
Tom Lewis, Amy Rigby, and Barachois.
Wherever you're bound this month, have a great time.
PS. PS. If you would like to receive 'Across the Pond'
as a monthly 'plain text e-mail' please let me know.
Wherever you're bound this month, have a great time.
Best of the Rest of the UK
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