2018 was the second year of the City Roots festival, a winter event brought to the city by the organisers of its partner, the renowned Cambridge Folk Festival. Once again, the promoters were kind enough to invite me along, representing folking.com. Given the breadth of the festival, I ended up choosing a cross-section of events that appealed and went along. Only slightly side-tracked by bad weather, here’s my overview of the two-weeks.
Having had the privilege of interviewing Sam last year for folking.com and found him incredibly generous with his time (we chatted for an hour and he’d literally just arrived home after a tour), I still had yet to see him live. Eventually, as part of the 2018 Cambridge City Roots festival, I managed to get along to his band’s gig at the Junction. And what a gig! Definitely a band to go and see – real crowd-pleasers and full of energy. Here’s my review, also for folking.com.
Legendary Steeleye Span / Gigspanner fiddle player Peter Knight and ex-Bellowhead melodeon supremo John Spiers were first paired up by the organisers at Folk East in 2016. This inspired collaboration proved durable, leading to a 2018 album, Well Met, and promotional tour. As part of the 2018 Cambridge City Roots festival, I was lucky enough to go along and have a listen. Here’s the review written for folking.com.
A lovely album, this one. An intriguing collection of songs from a fellow Lancashire lass who dropped out of music making for 30 years, got on with life and has returned, prolifically, in more recent times. Fuelled by tea which is recommendation enough, in my book. Reviewed for folking.com
Guitarist Pablo Lafuente lends a gracious and delicate support to Lewis islander Josie Duncan’s pure, clear voice. Sung in Gaelic and in English, this is another fine example of modern traditional Scottish music.
An amazing duo who seized life by the scruff of the neck and shook it up vigorously. Using redundancy as an opportunity to see if they could make their music pay as a full-time job, this pair appear to have more than succeeded. It’s a great album, with strong songs and performances. A goodie.
An interesting take on the songs of Elmore James in celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday. A stellar array of music’s finest get together to rock out to some classic tunes.
Overall, I’d have to say that it was a bit too guitar-hero for my tastes, and I’d always prefer to go back to the original, but there were a few tracks where something quite different came through and it’s still a fine homage to a blues master.