- 01 Aug 12
When families make music together, the results are often sublime. Especially when the music in question is in the roots or folk milieu.
The Louvin Brothers, Delmore Brothers, Stanley Brothers, Dezurik Sisters. Folk music is littered with family bands, brothers and sisters, and multi-generational dynasties like The Carters, who hone and carry on their particular tradition across the years. On this side of the Atlantic you could point to The Unthanks and, of course, The Murphy Brothers who play as the 4 Of Us.
Put two siblings together in a musical partnership and you can arrive at something that is more than simply the sum of its parts. From South Devon, down towards the Cornish border (so we can almost claim them as Celtic), are twins Laura and Charlotte Carrivick, who perform as The Carrivick Sisters. A duo since 2006, they started playing at the age of 17. On leaving school, they turned professional. Their sound hinges around the tight harmonies they’ve made their hallmark as well as their multi-instrumental prowess – flicking through their press shots I counted banjo, fiddle, mandolin, dobro and guitar. Laura was placed second in the 2008 Rocky Grass fiddle contest in the US and Charlotte has the rare distinction of having won both the fiddle and banjo competitions at the Friends Of American Old Time Music and Dance’s festival this year.
The pair have also made waves on a more established national platform, having been shortlisted for the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards. Despite, or maybe thanks to, their youth, they’ve recorded four albums together, their 2006 debut My Own Two Feet, the following year’s Better Than Six Cakes, Jupiter’s Corner in 2009 and last year’s From The Fields. Though they built up a considerable reputation as a live act in the UK, US, Canada and on the continent, their show at the Workman’s Club on Thursday August 2 is their first Dublin appearance.
Another fresh face making the trip over the Irish Sea is Chris Woods, whose acoustic style takes the percussive guitar approach to a whole different level, combining string slapping, elements of finger tapping and rapid drumming on the belly. The result is a powerfully original technique.
He writes a column on technique for Acoustic magazine and is in the process of putting together a book of tablature set to be published by Hal Leonard next year. He has every known endorsement a guitar player could possibly have, right down to the plectrums he uses. Outside of his guitar playing, he has become highly regarded for his innovative use of stomp boxes and has his own signature Logarhythm model. You can see a picture forming of a player with what our American comrades like to call ‘serious chops’. Woods plays an entirely instrumental set but if you like a little lyrics in your music fear not, because accompanying him on this Irish tour is Mister Justin, Irish guitarist and singer songwriter Justin Dowling who released his debut album, With Daylight Still To Spare, last year. It blends folk music and a mystic sensibility with many of the same percussive techniques you’ll find in Woods’ playing.
Their first Irish date is in Belfast’s Black Box Thursday August 9 with shows following in Palomo Cafe in Lurgan (11), Dublin’s Whelan’s (12), Mick Murphy’s in Ballymore Eustace (13), the Red Door Theatre at the Bridge Brook Arms in Thomastown (14), the Sitting Room Sessions at DeBarras Folk Club (15), Bourke’s Bar, Limerick (16) and Monroe’s of Galway (17)
Although he was known for a long time as a rock guitarist following his stint in The Revs, there’s no doubting John McIntyre’s ability to wring a beautiful bell-like tone and a crystal clarity from an acoustic guitar nowadays. It’s a feature of the style he pursues while accompanying wife Zoë Conway’s fiddle playing. The north Louth duo have announced a series of six concert dates for July and August following on from the success of the series last year, with audience numbers increasing show after show. Carlingford Heritage Centre, located in the breathtaking St. Micheal’s Holy Trinity Church at the heart of the medieval town, has proved to be a wonderful setting for these gigs, with the ambience of the church complimenting the acoustic fiddle and guitar performances beautifully.
The concerts are one hour long, from 4pm, on each of the Sundays in question (with one exception when the concert takes place in the evening), allowing people the freedom to explore the village’s many other attractions.
With an exciting blend of eclectic fiddle and guitar music, Zoë and John bring to the stage sympathetic arrangements of traditional Irish music, compositions and songs, old and new. The duo possesses a rare facility to draw pieces into their repertoire from other genres which not only display the sheer range and knowledge of both instrumentalists but also the versatility of their instruments. Keeping to the theme from last year, they are also showcasing a special guest at each concert starting with Siobhan Manson, lead dancer with Riverdance and Women Of Ireland, who joins them on Sunday July 22. Singer songwriter Stewart Agnew is their guest the following week (29). Folk singer and spinner of yarns Colum Sands joins them on the first Sunday in August (5) – his is the late start, with the concert not taking place until 8pm. Uilleann piper Mick O’Brien makes the trip up from Dublin the following Sunday (12) while local violinist Cliodhna Ryan joins them the weekend after (22). Their final guest for the series is John Sheehan from the Dubliners (26).