Jez Lowe at the me and thee (Shawna Caspi opens)
With last years announcement of a double nomination in the 2015 BBC Folk Awards (Folksinger of the Year and Best New Song), Jez Lowe has leapt into his third decade as a song-writing troubadour, on the back of a new and much acclaimed album his nineteenth entitled THE BALLAD BEYOND.
The year ahead will see him in front of audiences right across the UK, as well as in Canada, Australia, Spain and Denmark, not only solo or with his long-standing backing band Bad Pennies, but in new musical company, on new musical journeys.
It took the release of the compilation CD entitled HEADS UP 18 Essential Jez Lowe Songs, in 2012 for the acoustic/folk world to be jolted into realising that this North East of England-based singer-songwriter is rapidly gaining ground as the most covered songwriter on the UK circuit. Over the last couple of decades, the likes of Fairport Convention, The Dubliners, The Unthanks, Wizz Jones, The McCalmans, Mary Black, The Duhks, Bob Fox, The Young Uns, Enda Kenny, Cherish The Ladies, Tom McConville, The Clancys and scores more, have queued up to adopt his songs for their own repertoires. No wonder no less than Richard Thompson has called him The best singer songwriter to come out of the UK for a long time, and personally invited him to play at Thompsons Meltdown Festival at Londons South Bank Centre in 2010.
Jez Lowes contributions to the on-going BBC series The Radio Ballads has cemented this reputation, with a Sony Radio Award among the many accolades coming its way.
Half of the fifteen songs on the new album THE BALLAD BEYOND are Radio Ballads songs recorded by their composer for the first time, revealing not only the breadth of the radio series itself, but also that of the writing and subject matter that Jez has striven to reach.
But the bulk of Jezs time is spent on the road. Hes long been one of the UKs busiest folk performers, playing for audiences the world over, either solo, (with guitar, cittern and harmonica accompaniment), or with his band The Bad Pennies. A highlight of 2015s schedule was the Men At Words tour of North America, which saw Jez joining forces with James Keelaghan and Archie Fisher for much-acclaimed concerts across Canada and the USA. As part of The Pitmen Poets (with Bob Fox, Benny Graham and Billy Mitchell), Jez has helped to rekindled the fire in the tradtion of mining songs and culture of his native region in a series of sell out theatre performances around the UK, which will continue with a thirty-date tour in early 2017. His current collaboration with fellow-songwriter Steve Tilston is likely to see fruition in a new joint album later in 2016, and an ongoing involvement with the quirky supergroup The Broonzies, will also resume in early 2017.
As BBC Radio DJ Mike Harding said recently, No-one else writes or sounds like Jez Lowe, and chances are, even if youve never heard the man himself, youll have heard his songs, sung at festivals, club-gigs, open-mikes or on CD, by the great and good, the professional and the enthusiast, the young and not-so-young. What higher accolade could a songwriter hope for?
Jez Lowe is one of our finest songwriters. BBC Radio 2
About SHAWNA CASPI
Toronto-based singer-songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist Shawna Caspi hadnt done much travelling before tapering off a series of administrative jobs to start touring full-time. She had never even rented a car. She had never been camping before performing at the Blue Skies Music Festival in 2014.
Since then, Shawna has toured throughout Canada and the United States, including performances at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, the Summerfolk Festival (ON), and the Deep Roots Music Festival (NS), and concert series including the Calgary Folk Club, the Nickelodeon, the Northern Lights Folk Club (AB), the Greenbank Folk Music Society (ON), the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse (MA), On Your Radar (NY), and Six String Concerts (OH).
Shawnas fourth album Forest Fire, coming in September 2017, is a collection of songs about burning things down and building them up again. Engineered and produced by Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Bahamas, Ron Sexsmith), the elegant arrangements draw the listener into the depths of haunting, atmospheric tracks, then lift them out with airy, bluegrass instrumentation and hopeful narratives for brighter days. Its dark granite stone with a shot of glimmering quartz through the middle. When the words get heavy, they are held up to the light of love, grace, and gratitude. With these songs, Shawna strives to be unafraid, to embolden quieted voices, to tell the truth above all else.
Some musicians make songwriting sound less of a craft and more of a life affirming obsession. Caspis compositions stand out as beautiful, complex and intricate even in an increasingly crowded folk scene. NOW Magazine
Its an album about cycles, about playing the long game. Thats why its called Forest Fire something that seems huge and devastating when it happens, but in the relative vastness of space and time, its just one small moment on a much grander scale, a necessary catastrophe that leads to new growth.
Shawnas vocals are brewed by years of classical training followed by years on the road finding her own voice singing folk songs. She combines power, intensity, character, and closeness. She has a whole band under her fingertips, with a remarkable lyrical fingerpicking guitar style. Her performances capture audiences with grace and intimacy whether the setting is a living room, a festival stage, or the bar car of a passenger train.
Shawna taps into her Canadian folk roots to share songs with beauty, humor and a keen eye for the world around her. Add to the fact that she is a classically trained guitarist with a stunning voice, and you have an artist that is destined to be an important artist on the folk circuit. Ron Olesko, Sing Out! Magazine
After taking one painting course in university, Shawna put away her brushes and bottles for the next seven years. But the overwhelming beauty of the landscapes she saw on tour was too much to keep to herself, whether it was coastal beaches, jagged canyons, endless prairie skies, charming fishing villages, tidy Midwestern farms, or the rugged pink rock of the Canadian Shield. She started painting again to share the visual landscapes of her travels, the places she was already weaving into her songs, and now creates one-of-a-kind works of art inspired by the rich scenery she sees on the road. She has sold over one hundred original works and continues to create more. Forest Fire features Shawnas paintings on the front and back cover and throughout the album artwork design.
Shawnas songs have a way of making you feel at home, no matter where you are. Lynda Norman, Executive Director, Kelowna Arts Council
me and thee coffeehouse (View)
28 Mugford St
Marblehead, MA 01945
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|