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LIVE NEWS

17th November 2014 - The Harley, Sheffield, supporting She Keeps Bees

15th December 2014 - Victoria Hall, Sheffield, supporting Trembling Bells & Mike Heron


WHAT WE'RE UP TO

Currently recording a new album of original material in Sheffield with producer Dean Honer (I Monster / Eccentronic Research Council).


CURRENT RELEASES



Our latest album is entitled 'Folk Songs II'. It is a follow-up to the 'Folk Songs' album we made with James Yorkston. This time the album features Alasdair Roberts, Nancy Elizabeth, Mary Hampton, Elle Osborne, James William Hindle, Adrian Crowley, Sharron Kraus, Heather Ditch and, of course, James Yorkston. Static Caravan Recordings have released it as a nice card-pack CD.

All of the tracks are traditional songs, chosen by the singers, and then put through the Big Eyes mincer. Its been a lot of fun to work on!

The artwork was created by a group of students at Liverpool College of Art and Design. A project was set for the second-year degree students studying design and illustration to come up with the artwork, and we then chose the winning one from around 5 groups. There were some really great designs, but we thought that this one suited the feel of the album best.

RADIO SESSION

We have recorded a special radio-session for Folk Radio UK, and you can listen to it via the link below. It features three new versions of songs we've recorded previously, and a new track.

www.folkradio.co.uk/2012/04/session-big-eyes-family-players

SOUNDCLOUD

Keeping up with the times, we have a Soundcloud page, with several of our pieces on at: www.soundcloud.com/big-eyes-family-players

FILM NEWS

Two BEFP songs ('Doreen' and 'Going Home') have been used in this excellent film about consumerism (full title 'Consumed - Inside the Belly Of The Beast') made by Slackjaw Films. It is available now on DVD and to download.

More info - http://www.slackjaw.co.uk/consumed


RECENT RELEASES



The album 'Family Favourites' is available to order from Karate Body Records and from selected record shops (Norman Records in the UK). It was released on vinyl and digital formats on 22nd March 2011. The vinyl also comes with a free album download.



We also have a song on a recent CD/download compilation by French label Wool Recordings.  'Donkeys Disturbed By A Meteor Shower' (which is taken from the 'Donkeysongs' album) appears alongside tracks by Laetitia Sadler (Stereolab), Castanets, Le Volume Courbe, Peter Broderick and many more. The compilation is available from the Wool Recordings website, as well as Amazon, i-tunes and others.





James Yorkston & The Big Eyes Family Players - Mary Connaught and James O'Donnell

A decidedly upbeat number from the 'Folk Songs' album is now out on 7-inch and download, backed with a brand new JY&TBEFP version of 'Barbara Allen', and also a remix of 'I Went To Visit The Roses' by the mysterious Silver Columns.

You can only order it from the Domino website here.

VIDEOS!
There are 2 videos for 'Mary Connaught and James O'Donnell'

Mary Connaught and James O'Donnell 1
Mary Connaught and James O'Donnell 2



James Yorkston & The Big Eyes Family Players - Folk Songs

TBEFP have collaborated with the Fife-based singer and songwriter on an album of old folk material, coming from England, Ireland, Scotland and Spain. It was recorded in Fife, Sheffield and Bethesda, North Wales in 2008/2009 and features the 2 James's (Green and Yorkston), Ellie Bond (violin) and Paul Fletcher (drums) from the recent Big Eyes line-up, plus Nancy Elizabeth (harp, piano, vocals), Pip Dylan (pedal steel), Luke Daniels (melodeon) and Dave Wrench (backing vocals).

It is out now on Domino Records, and available as a CD, LP, download and a special limited edition 3-disc set. The special limited edition includes the standard album, plus a live folk song session DVD (which includes non-album tracks), a CD of the session and an A3 poster. You can find out more from the Domino website here.

Also, a JY&TBEFP single 'Martinmas Time' b/w 'Nottanum Town' is also out on Domino. It is limited 7inch, all with hand-crafted sleeves by Yorkston's crew, our people and many others. More info here.

VIDEOS!
There are 2 videos for Martinmas Time and a Folk Songs film trailer:

Martinmas Time 1
Martinmas Time 2
Folk Songs Trailer



Family favourites

LATEST RELEASE

The Big Eyes Family Players & Friends - 'Folk Songs II' CD/Download Static Caravan Recordings VAN242

Folk Songs, a collection of old English, Scottish and Irish folk tunes. Three years on and they're releasing Folk Songs II, having drafted in a number of their favourite singers to choose songs and sing on the record. Too often folk albums are staid and boring affairs but this album has a freshness about it, enough to re-ignite even the most jaded folkie's love of traditional song.

The songs themselves are proof of the rich folklore of these islands, countries which have spawned music as mysterious and enticing as any incense filled eastern temple. If that wasn't enough the treatments of these songs is truly something special and despite the revolving door of vocalists flows well as a collection. It's also a timely reminder that there's more to our national identity than petty football rivalries, TV soaps, and our love/hate relationship with the tabloid press. It's difficult not to be stirred by these songs, such is their deep resonance. The arrangements are irreverent and sprawling and as such infuse the songs with the spirit and life they deserve.

Take for example Greenland Bound, a whaling ballad sung here by Adrian Crowley. It's tale of loneliness, hard work, danger and isolation from family and friends is lent weight by the addition of distant whistling. Mary Hampton and Sharron Kraus double up for vocals on A Man Indeed, a song derived from an old English rhyme called Sandy Dawe to which they've written a new melody. Fans of the original 1973 film The Wicker Man (and who isn't!?) will love this track, along with pretty much everything else on the album.

The record hits its stride with Looly, Looly a beautiful and beguilingly catchy song featuring James Yorkston on vocals. Its arrangement features an intoxicating blend of instruments including glockenspiel, slide guitar, viola and harmoniflute. Heather Ditch then sings The Clyde Water, perhaps the most radio-friendly track here, complete with a psychedelic synth break worthy of any mid-'60s acid band.

For my mind the album highlight however is The Coast O' Spain, a Scottish travelling song sung here by Alasdair Roberts. It's melody is beautiful enough in itself but with the gloriously clangy guitar backing, along with backing vocals from from Green and Heather Ditch it becomes a truly spectacular reading. Lack of space stops me from mentioning the rest of the album but there's not a bad track among them. Other vocalists include Nancy Elizabeth, James William Hindle, Elle Osbourne and James Green himself.

The album closes with a rendition of a baudy Irish song called Maureen From Gippursland, which marks Alasdair Roberts' second lead vocal, complete with industrial power tool noises at a particular point in the song. For my money there's unlikely to be a finer traditional folk album this year. It's available as a standard 12 track album and also as a special limited edition containing an extra 3 tracks and postcards. Well worth looking out for.

Subba Cultcha July 2012