Front Room Songs

Artist management and promotion


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Blick Bassy to play Front Room Songs

We are incredibly honoured to announce that rising star of the world music scene, Blick Bassy, will play a rare solo show at Front Room Songs on the 15th October. He joins the bill with Brooke Sharkey in what promises to be an incredible night of music.

‘..transparent, understated and very beautiful’ **** Album of the Week, Evening Standard
‘..a short but beautifully realised gem from an innovative Paris label’ **** Observer

blick-bassy

Fresh from a standing ovation at King’s Place, London (‘exquisite, soulful voice … with music this intriguing there (is) no need for gimmicks’ **** – The Guardian), we are delighted to welcome this rising star of world music. In this solo performance, Blick Bassy will present songs from his acclaimed album Akö. Written and sung in Bassa, one of some 260 spoken languages in Cameroon. Akö’s eleven sparklingly original tracks are a musical revelation.

Remarkable then, to consider that these are recordings that were never intended for release. Bassy’s original idea was to get together with the cellist Clément Petit and trombonist Fidel Fourneyron to record a few songs in homage to his longtime hero Skip James.

By chance, the studio they hired was directly below the offices of Nø Førmat!, the innovative French label run by Laurent Bizot, who happened to hear the results of this unlikely yet inspired musical alchemy. As Laurent relates, ‘when I heard the first song Aké, I was stunned. It sounded like a dream, so light, a voice floating in the sky. Production was minimal but bold and the music had a feel not often heard with African songwriters. They had taken risks they probably wouldn’t have done if the music was meant for release. The lack of budget, the time restraints and the restriction to three musicians has conjured something entirely unique and very fresh. Exactly what I like!’

A limited number of tickets is available from https://frontroomsongs.eventbrite.co.uk

www.blickbassy.com


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Felix Hagan & The Family to join Frank Turner on Get Better UK tour

Delighted to share the news that Felix Hagan & The Family will be joining Frank Turner as main support on his UK tour in November and December.

The 21 date tour starts in Salisbury on the 18 November, and will visit Truro, Liverpool, Carlisle, Doncaster, Coventry, Cardiff, Oxford, Exeter, Reading, Leeds, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Scunthorpe, Warrington, Newcastle, Nottingham, Bexhill, Norwich and Guildford, finishing up in Portsmouth on the 14 December.

The band will play a further headline show in London on Thursday 15 December (venue tbc).

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 31 August.

FT Tour Admat


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New show: Alexander & Max Baillie at Bedford Cottage

Redhill, Bedford Cottage
Saturday 29th October 2016

Max-Baillie-and-Alexander-Baillie_SW_FX07557Father and son duo Alexander Baillie (cello) and Max Baillie (violin) are both leading instrumentalists of their generations. With international careers as soloists and chamber musicians that include performances at the BBC Proms and as far afield as Moscow and Sydney, they regularly appear playing programs that draw on the rich duo repertoire for violin and cello.

Regulars to the Front Room will already be familiar with the virtuosic skills of Max. This will be no less than his fourth appearance – we just can’t get enough! We are hugely privileged that he will be joined by his father for this incredibly special and intimate show.

They will bring an exciting and varied program of music to the Front Room, inspired by the folk traditions of eastern Europe and of the natural world: Czech composer Martinu, from France Ravel; from Hungary Kodaly; and from Belgium, Honnegger.

Space is incredibly limited for this show and tickets will sell out fast. Contact us for full details of the event and how to attend.


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Brooke Sharkey ‘Wandering Heart’ album launch

LONDON : The Jazz Cafe
Thurday 27th October 2016 7:00pm

London singer/songwriter Brooke Sharkey launches her new album ‘Wandering heart’ at London’s famous Jazz Cafe. Written in French and English, Brooke’s introspective songs adorned with emotional vocals and sliding instruments and unique rhythms create a tense air of melancholy that few others can master so simply and so elegantly.

‘She’s sure to stop you in your tracks…Really is so beautiful…’ – Mary Anne Hobbs, BBC Radio 6

Buy tickets 
Jazz Café Poster Artwork A3


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Magic moments in the Folk Barn

Just wow! What an epic feast of music was had at Wilderness Festival. I may be biased but, aside from the main stage with Robert Plant and Flaming Lips, the Travelling Folk Barn really was the place to be.

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Showing the love for RSVP Bhangra

Snufkin, Gideon Conn and the Odd Beats did Front Room Songs proud, playing to a packed barn right from the start. Festival veterans RSVP Bhangra worked the crowd into a frenzy (being booed for not letting an act play another song is a new first for me), and Jaz Delorean and friends provided a little bit of musical magic to end the night, courtesy of a guest appearance from the giant Tommy Hare.

With such a smorgasbord of talent on offer, there really was no need to stray far from the Folk Barn for the rest of the weekend! Personal highlights (apart from everyone on the Thursday) were a stunning set from The Nightjar (watch out for that name) and a jaw-droppingly brilliant three hours with sets from Klezmer kings Tantz (I LOVE these guys!), Gentle Mystics Soundsystem, and electro Arabic Dabke (Shamstep) maestros 47 Soul. Congratulations and kudos to Woodburner Music for inspired programming!


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Back to the Wilderness

Phew what a busy year it’s been. Since our fantastic festival last September, it’s been a total whirlwind. More incredible music in the Front Room with some welcome returns from some familiar faces, and some new ones. We’ve upgraded to a beautiful barn at the farm, with the brilliantly eccentric Cosmo Sheldrake headlining the first show.

I’ve been on what feels like a marathon run of music related projects. From target-smashing crowdfunding campaigns for Adam Beattie and The Turbans, to a sold out album launch show at Hoxton Hall for Adam, to stints working at two of my favourite festivals (Rollright Fair and Fire in the Mountain), it feels like I have barely stopped.

Front Room Songs is taking its usual summer break, but we’ll be back in October with not one, but two brilliant shows – one at the farm and one in our beautiful front room. We cannot wait!

In the meantime, we’re back at our other favourite festival – the glorious Wilderness Festival in Cornbury Oxfordshire. I’ll be in the Travelling Folk Barn on Thursday 4th August with some Front Room staples and some new faces too. On the line up is the inimitable Gideon Conn, neo-folk-trip-choral-harmony-swing band Snufkin, the gorgeous Dila Vardar and her Odd Beats, festival veterans RSVP Bhangra. Jaz Delorean of Tankus The Henge fame will be rounding off the night with a a host of friends in what promises to be an epic jam session. As always, it’s an honour to be sharing the programming of this stage with legendary East London live music promoter Woodburner Music, Two for Joy and The Local.


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Front Room on the Farm 2015

Front Room on the Farm 2015

Front Room on the Farm 2015

Having officially waved goodbye to the world of salaried employment to concentrate on music projects full time (‘funemployment‘), I finally have some time to turn my energy to our sophomore festival, Front Room on the Farm 2015. Our first event was such a beautiful, special and magical day, it is hard to imagine how we will top it, but we have dug deep and produced another incredible line up of very special musicians that we know and love.

To keep it fresh I vowed to have no repeat performers, but have permitted myself just one indulgence in bringing back Mr Theo Bard. He was instrumental to the success of last year’s event, and has since played a significant role in my momentous career change. How could I not invite him back?

We have lots of other firm Front Room favourites on the line up, not least the very brilliantly bonkers Felix Hagan and Family. This will be their THIRD visit to the farm, no less, and I don’t think it will be long before they are playing much bigger stages than ours!

Elsewhere on our line up we have Manchester’s finest ethio-trad, folk-hop band, the stonkingly good Honeyfeet; the mesmerising Brooke Sharkey with her ever more narrative songs with their spacious backdrop of chanson, blues, folk and Latin music; original rag and bones jazz blues folk tunes from Whiskey Moon Face; and Screamin’ Miss Jackson and the Slap Ya Mama Big Band, offering their very own take on the New Orleans street sound with elements of Country, Skiffle, Jazz, Western Swing all mixed up together. More names to come soon!

As always, this is a private event, but you are welcome to get in touch if you think you’d like to come. Email me through this site for more information.


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Of good music and good intentions

As a teenager in secondary school, I was well known among my teachers for expansive and effusive apologies for my predictable failure to deliver essays on time. I always meant to do them, just somehow there was always something more exciting to DO. It seems that some things will never change, and there is no point in pretending that this blog will ever be updated on time!

Since my last post back in January, we have played host to no less than five incredible musical acts, more if you include the very brilliant Christmas show we had with the inimitable Felix Hagan and the Family, with support from Franky and the Jacks and Theo Bard.

Since then, we’ve had visits from former Puppini Sister Stephanie O’Brien, a very welcome return from Theo Bard, this time with virtuoso violinist Max Baillie in tow. Max was back again in April with solo show, keeping us spellbound with a set comprising Bach pieces for viola and violin, interspersed with his own folk tales set to violin.

In March we had a visit from Nashville band Woody Pines. I’ve been a big fan of these guys for a very long time, so to host them was a pretty big treat for me, and they didn’t disappoint!

We have just three more shows before we take a break for the summer and throw ourselves into our festival planning. Front Room on the Farm 2015 is on its way and the line up is looking sweet! Message me if you’d like some details of how to come along.

In amongst all of this, I have been hard at work with Theo. He’s been on the road in Belgium and Germany and is currently on a ten date UK tour. We’ve both been nose to the grindstone getting ready for his EP launch this Autumn and I cannot wait for the day we can share his new record with you. It’s sounding awesome and I’m incredibly proud to be helping Theo get it out there.


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Ottersgear here in the house

If I were one for making new years resolutions, it would be to be much better at updating this blog. In my defence, it has been a punishing busy couple of months as I started a new full time job, took on managing Theo Bard, and went into overdrive planning our biggest ever house concert down at the farm.

But no excuses for sitting on this excellent review of Mikey Kenney’s show here back in November from new Front Room fan Harriet!

Mikey, for anyone who has not come across him before, is a spell-binding fiddle player, singer and songwriter from Liverpool. His most recent album, Quest for Rest, recorded under the name Ottersgear, is a stunning piece of work that spent most of the summer on repeat in this house!

Mikey Kenney with Damon Kilcawley in the Front Room

Mikey Kenney with Damon Kilcawley in the Front Room

“Saturday night was our first time enjoying Songs from the Front Room at Bedford Cottage. As we stepped through their front door amidst the bustle of friendly faces sipping wine, delicious-smelling pizzas (cooked or on-route to next door’s oven) and the tell-tale strumming of an acoustic guitar into a warm, vibrant home that welcomed you instantly, it felt like we were becoming part of something really special.

When Mikey, who was joined on the night by Damon Kilcawley, started playing, everyone was almost totally silent.The only sound were thirty people’s toes tapping along to the music. Guitars, banjos, mandolins, harmonicas, a vintage organ and a fiddle… These are two extremely talented musicians.

Mikey entertained the crowd between tunes as well as during with hilarious stories and anecdotes that had the whole room laughing before falling into another hush as the next song began. I’ve never been to a gig that felt so intimate and so relaxed, but I hope I’ll have the chance to go to many more now that we know about Songs from the Front Room.”

Thanks Harriet and we can’t wait to welcome you again.

If you want to know more about Mikey and his Ottersgear project, you can find him in all the usual places.


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News from the Front Room

To the casual observer, it might appear that nothing much has been happening at Front Room Songs for a very long time but, thankfully, nothing could be further from truth. It’s just that I am much better at organising and hosting front room gigs than I am at blogging.

Since the last post back in May, we rounded off the first half of the year’s music with a stunning show from folk-pop maestro Lail Arad in June. Lail gave us a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come on her new album (due out ‘sometime next year’) including a beautiful rendition of her single 1934, an ode to her musical hero Leonard Cohen.

After Lail’s show, we took a break over the summer to prepare for our very first Front Room Festival. Held on a beautiful day on beautiful farm in Surrey, what started as a jokey conversation with a friend was finally realised after 10 months of hard work by a dedicated team of incredible people.

From the bouncy castles and two-seater space hoppers to the amazing performances from an outstanding line up that included Gabby Young and Other Animals, Revere, Theo Bard and Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra, it is hard to put into words what a magical day this was. We could not have asked for a warmer or more enthusiastic audience, who fully embraced the spirit of the day. We are all still basking in the warm glow of happy memories, and have already begun planning for next year.

Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra

Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra © Bertie Bosredon

And as a final footnote to that glorious day, something very special happened as a result. I have teamed up with the fabulously talented Theo Bard as his manager. Theo has been entertaining audiences across London in the most beautiful and intimate music spots, singing his own unique brand of urban folk. His expert picking on the guitar, bold beats and uplifting lyrics combine to make a sound that is both timeless and contemporary, reflecting the diversity of his beloved London. It is a huge honour to be on this journey with Theo as he takes his music to ever greater heights. We have lots of exciting plans, so expect to hear much more from him in the coming months.

See you back in the Front Room soon!

Katie x