Archive for singer songwriter


Posted in Classic rock, Competitions, Folk, News, rock with tags , , , , , , on March 11, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Your chance to win a copy of the new CDs from Joan Baez and Michael Schenker – part of a series of competitions over the coming year to celebrate this blog’s tenth birthday.


For a chance to win a copy of Joan Baez’s new album ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ simply answer the following question –

What year did she release her debut album?

a) 1960

b) 1961

c) 1962

Email your answer to and the winner will be chosen at random. Entries welcome worldwide and the closing date is April 8th. Good luck!


For a chance to win a copy of Michael Schenker’s new bets of double album ‘A Decade of the Mad Axeman’ simply answer the following question –

Who HAS NOT sung on a Michael Schenker album?

a) Doogie White

b) Gary Barden

c) Steve Overland

Email your answer to and the winner will be chosen at random. Entries welcome worldwide and the closing date is April 8th. Good luck!


Posted in festivals, Folk, Folk rock, Get Ready To Rock!, News with tags , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Christy Moore (Sat), Gogol Bordello (Fri), Imelda May (Sun), Glen Hansard (Fri), Mary Chapin Carpenter (Sun), Afro Celt Sound System (Sat), Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires (Sat), Kate Rusby (Sat), Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band (Sun), Jon Boden (Thurs), Songs of Separation (Sat), Sam Lee & Friends (Sun), Michael McGoldrick Band (Fri), Blazin’ Fiddles (Sun), Solas (Sat/Sun), Edward II (Fri), Le Vent du Nord (Fri/Sat), Duncan Chisholm (Sun), Kíla (Sat/Sun), Breabach (Sat), Hot 8 Brass Band (Sun), Cash Box Kings (Sat/Sun), This Is The Kit (Sun), Stick In The Wheel (Sat), Seafret (Thurs), The Mike + Ruthy Band (Fri/Sat), Will Varley (Thurs), Lisa O’Neill (Fri), Brian McNeill (Fri/Sat), Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys (Sun), Ímar (Thurs), Glorystrokes (Fri), Steamchicken (Fri), The Dovetail Trio (Thurs), Flats & Sharps (Thurs), Funbox (Sun), Silent Ceilidh (Sat), The BarrowBand (Fri)

“For sheer class and integrity, it can’t be beaten.”
– The Independent

“An event with everything anyone could ask for.”
– Sunday Express

One of Europe’s biggest folk fests, CFF is bursting with established and traditional talent alongside younger acts.”
– Time Out

The first names have been revealed for this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival, one of the longest established and most prestigious folk festivals in the world. Tickets are on sale.An eclectic range of performances will include: iconic Irish folk singer
Christy Moore in an exclusive English Festival appearance, performing with Declan Sinnott and Jim Higgins; high energy Gypsy folk-punk band Gogol Bordello, acclaimed for their live shows; rockabilly singer-songwriter Imelda May, a powerful live performer with “a whipcracker of a voice”; Academy Award-winning star of the film Once, Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard in an exclusive English festival appearance; American singer-songwriter and multi Grammy Award-winner Mary Chapin Carpenter; global beat pioneers Afro Celt Sound System who are celebrating their 20th anniversary with a new album; the “screaming eagle of soul” Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires.

The ever-popular Barnsley Nightingale Kate Rusby; Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, featuring the English folk figurehead nominated for Folk Singer of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and her all-star band; a standout performer of his generation, the Bellowhead lead singer and main arranger, Jon Boden, in one of his first solo appearances since their final gig in May; Songs of Separation, a special collaboration between ten leading Scottish and English female folk musicians on the issue of ‘separation’ including Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart; song collector and nominee for Folk Singer of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Sam Lee & Friends; leading folk multi-instrumentalists the Michael McGoldrick Band, featuring the trailblazing player and composer; prolific and multi-award winning Scottish fiddle band Blazin’ Fiddles; one of the world’s most exciting Celtic bands, Solas.

Edward II, who uniquely blend the rhythms of the Caribbean with traditional songs from the British Isles; dynamic Quebecois folk band Le Vent du Nord; acclaimed Scottish fiddle player and composer Duncan Chisholm; relentlessly energetic groovers Kíla, who interject Gaelic rap and world influences into traditional folk; multi-award winning Scottish firebrands Breabach who have just released their fifth album entitled Astar; New Orleans jazz, hip-hop, funk sensations Hot 8 Brass Band; one of the best U.S. blues bands, Cash Box Kings, playing their old time Chicago blues in an exclusive UK performance; the beloved musical project of Kate Staples, alternative folk band This Is The Kit, championed by 6Music; fRoots magazine Album of the Year 2015 winners Stick In The Wheel, nominated for Best Group in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; up-and-coming North East duo and Radio 1 favourites Seafret; The Mike + Ruthy Band, who produced one of the standout Americana albums of 2015; one of Time Out’s rising stars of 2015, rambling folk singer Will Varley, who previously toured with Frank Turner; the refreshingly witty Irish singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill; multi-instrumentalist Brian McNeill, leading the Festival session.

Barnstorming live performers and nominee for the Horizon Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys; five-piece Ímar, which features some of today’s most exciting young traditional musicians including current and former members of Mànran, RURA, Talisk and Barrule; Glorystrokes, possibly the world’s only traditional English metalcore ceilidh band; a fun-packed family ceilidh with the ever-popular Steamchicken; The Dovetail Trio, with their bold new approach to traditional songs, featuring Rosie Hood, nominated for a Horizon Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; Flats & Sharps, blurring the lines between bluegrass, folk and country; an exciting sing-along experience for children from Funbox, formerly The Singing Kettle; a Silent Ceilidh with caller Cate Bannister; and children’s entertainers The BarrowBand celebrating healthy eating through song.

More major names to be announced.

Tickets can be purchased HERE

Tickets: Full Festival: Adult £159; Adult (18-21) £125; Teen (16-17) £95.50; Child (5-15) £44.50; Infant (0-4) free. Day tickets: Thursday £26.50; Friday £57.50; Saturday £67.50; Sunday £67.50. Camping: (Full Festival tickets only, per 2-3 berth tent) Cherry Hinton £63.50; Coldham’s Common (second site) £43.50. All ticket prices include booking fees.


Posted in Get Ready To Rock!, Music for 2016, News with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

PictureHouse are offering a free live EP download here.They recorded this at their last show in the Unitarian Church – you can see them again there on April 17th, tickets from here The EP includes a sterling version of ‘Fear Of Flying’ and ‘Don’t Believe Me’ – marvel at those soaring harmonies.

This band I discovered via their 2014 album ‘Evolution’ and I am fan due to their ear for a lovely melody and heartfelt vocals. Hoping for some UK live dates this year.



Posted in Music for 2016, Power pop, Singer songwriter with tags , , , , , , , on February 11, 2016 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Twitter is a good way to discover new music, mainly from artist who follow you (in a strictly non-stalker way of course). A couple worthy of a listen are Lee Dodington, whose song ‘If I Called Your Name’ is a taster from a forthcoming EP.

Next up Hayden Timm who has recorded a few cover versions, of which Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ caught my attention. Shades of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell at times. Be interesting to hear some original music from him.

New band the Rebelles feature Tracie Hunter, Elizabeth Westwood and Phoebe White and their debut single is a cover of the Mott The Hoople classic, ‘All The Young Dudes’. It also features Tracie’s dad Ian Hunter! Their debut album is due later this year.

Mix tape: JOSH TAERK

Posted in Albums of the Year, Get Ready To Rock!, Mix tape, Music for 2015, Music for 2016, Pop rock, Singer songwriter with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Personally I used to love making compilations back in the 1980’s on good old C60 and C90 cassettes. I thought it would be good to bring it back with a few musicians and music fans,  where they compile a virtual  mix tape of the songs that mean a lot to them. In fact in this modern age a Spotify playlist can be made too.

For those younger readers a mix tape (to quote Wikipedia):
‘Usually reflects the musical tastes of its compiler, can range from a casually selected list of favorite songs, to a conceptual mix of songs linked by a theme or mood, to a highly personal statement tailored to the tape’s intended recipient.’

Josh Taerk released his latest album  ‘Here’s to Change’  this year and it is well worth getting. Josh picks ten songs below and why they mean so much to him.

You can listen to Josh’s mix tape here.

  1. “Wonderwall” by Oasis: This was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. I was around 15/16 and at the time I wanted to be the next Slash. I was working at a summer camp and, during a break from one of our staff meetings, started playing this song on the guitar. A really cute counsellor from the Girl’s unit came over, sat herself right in front of me, asked what song I was playing; and after I told her, demanded that I start the song again and sing or she wouldn’t be able to follow along. 1) She was really cute, 2) I’m not one to back down from a challenge and 3) she was really cute; so I went for it. When I was done the song she looked at me and said “I didn’t know you were a singer!” I’ve been singing ever since.
  1. “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s: It was the last week of camp the August I turned 17. Every year, at the end of camp the owners put on a banquet for the staff and that year my friend was in charge of the entertainment. He decides to model the evening after American Idol and, without telling me, signs me up. On the day of the banquet he comes over to me and not only tells me that I’m performing but also tells me that I’m the last performer of the night. I was known for singing around camp, but to small groups of friends. This was going to be in front of the entire camp staff! That night, my turn rolls around and I sing this song in front of 200 plus people. As soon as the last chord died out, the entire crowd went nuts. At that moment I knew that up on stage was where I needed to be.
  1. “Round Here” by Counting Crows: The first lines in this song are:

“Step out the front door like a ghost

Into the fog where no one notices

The contrast of white on white

And in between the moon and you

The angels get a better view

Of the crumbling difference between wrong and wright”

The first time I heard these words, they immediately pulled me in. I felt the weight of what Adam Duritz was singing and at the same time had no idea what this was supposed to mean. That’s the beauty of songwriting; that’s the beauty of music. A good song is a story, a poem, a conversation between two people; whatever you as the listener need it to be at that moment. This song really inspired me to think about how my songs would be perceived and also inspired me to look at songwriting as a give and take between the artist and the listener. Meaning is created when the listener interprets your song so that it makes sense to them. It brings a whole other set of lives to this thing that you’ve created. It’s incredible!

  1. “For Baby” by John Denver: This song is important to me because it shaped me as a person, my values, my outlook on life and family. From the day I was born my Dad would sing that song to me every night. The song talks about being there for the ones you love, sharing in their ups and downs, and taking the journey that is life together; wherever that journey takes either of you. You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been, and this song reminds me of what’s really important in life; love.
  1. “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: After 9/11 Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band got back together and released this album and this song. In the wake of what happened this song spoke volumes to me about what music can do for humanity. This was not a song about differences, this was not a song about war, fighting, labels or politics. This was a song about life and the people that live it. It talked about the heroes that risked their lives that day, and those that didn’t make it back; but it did so focusing on the people, on how humanity reacted. Yes, there is sadness and yes, there are wounds that may never be fully healed; but the song dealt with these issues tastefully, compassionately, and with a glimmer of hope and faith. This song inspired me to try and see social issues from the perspective of the group that matters most; people, and to never loose sight of hope in the process.
  1. “Jelly Man Kelly” by James Taylor: When I was really young I loved the show Sesame Street and on one episode James Taylor came on and sang this song. I loved it and would ask my parents all the time if they could play the song by “Jelly Man” because, at the time, I had no idea who James Taylor was. I completely forgot about this, eventually fell in love with James Taylor’s music, and would listen to his songs constantly. One day pretty recently, my parents were going through old stuff of my siblings and mine in their basement and came across something that reminded them of this song. They re-told me the story, and I loved the irony that I was listening to James Taylor music long before I even knew who he was. You never know what’s going to affect your life and stick with you until it does.
  1. “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams: I love this song, and every time I hear it I can’t help but want to get up, grab a guitar, sing along and completely rock out to it. From the guitar riff at the beginning, to the soaring vocals in the chorus, the song is the definition of a rock anthem through and through; and feels like a rock song should. At the same time, the story running through the song deals with real life experiences. It’s about yearning for a simpler time, a lost love; dreams of becoming something more than you are. That, to me, is the perfect rock song, the combination of music that moves you and a story that does the same.
  1. “I Want You” by Bob Dylan: I love this song for a lot of reasons. First and foremost because Dylan is one of the most prolific songwriters, and a source of inspiration for me. Second, this was one of the first songs Dylan ever produced in Nashville Tennessee with the group of studio musicians known now as “The Nashville Cats.” The whole goal of these recordings for both parties was to expand on their definitions of music and go outside of their comfort zones, their genres, and make something unique and beautiful. This story really resonates with me especially because, when I went down to Nashville to record Here’s To Change, we ended up pushing ourselves and the music to places we never really thought about going before.
  1. “Hum Hallelujah” by Fall Out Boy: I was a huge Fall Out Boy fan when they were starting out. From the first album of theirs that I heard, Take This to Your Grave, to Infinity On High; I loved listening to their music because it was so unique and so well crafted. In a single song they would mix genres and styles of playing, move from regular time into cut time, back into regular time, speed the song up, slow it down; and it was all done in a way that really emphasized not just that part of the song, but the overall story. The lyrics were also always really unique. They would take cliché phrases like “The road of good intentions” and turn it on it’s head to make it new. In this song in particular they wrote:

“The road outside my house is paved with good intentions

Hired a construction crew, ‘cause it’s hell on the engine.”

  1. “Las Vegas Turnaround” by Hall and Oates: I am very grateful to call John Oates a mentor and friend. When I was looking for a producer for Here’s To Change, it was John that understood the kind of feel I was looking for and it was John that introduced me to producer Teddy Morgan. John is an incredible singer/songwriter, he is a fantastic friend, and is always there to lend a hand. I picked this song because I wanted to honor our friendship and honor John as a singer/songwriter; on top of the fact that it’s one of my favorites.

How was 2015 for you musically?

2015 was an exceptional year for me. It started with the finishing of my album Here’s To Change and releasing my first single off the album, the title track, in the UK. During that time, my brother Ryan and I went on a 15 campus university tour; it was unreal, and there was great response to the new music everywhere we went. At the end of May, I brought the band from Nashville to Manchester and played 5 shows at Indie Week Europe 2015 and then played 3 shows around London including The Bedford in Balham, The 12 Bar Club and O2 Academy Islington. While we were on this tour Here’s To Change was play-listed on 40 radio stations across the country. I’m so humbled by the incredible response to the record.

What have you got planned for 2016 and beyond?

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time in Nashville, writing new songs and playing shows that included a spot at The Bluebird Café. In 2016 we are planning a US tour as well as more trips down to Music City to another single and touring. I love what I do!

Message for your fans…

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has purchased, streamed, listened to, and requested to hear Here’s To Change on the radio. I also want to thank everyone who retweets, likes, comments and shares my posts online, I love talking with you and appreciate all of your support. Without all of you coming to the shows, listening to the music and watching the videos; none of this would be possible. So, thank you for what you do and for giving me the chance to do what I love!

2015 interview

Bat Kinane releases a new album ‘The Hills Above The Valley’ in November

Posted in Folk, Music for 2015, Singer songwriter with tags , , , , , on October 12, 2015 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Here is a preview of the new album from Bat Kinane, “The Hills above the Valley”, ten songs about Ballyknockan. Out in November 2015.

Bat does a lovely cover of Blackberry Smoke’s ‘Too High’:

KIRT DEBIQUE – Things Left Unsaid

Posted in Get Ready To Rock!, Music for 2015, pop with tags , , , on September 29, 2015 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Discovering an album like this is why I love music and reviewing it so much! Kirt is a self-taught musician and this is a very accomplished debut album. Worthy of your time…