ELIZA Carthy is back, and in a big way. Andrew Riley went along to cast his eye over the latest incarnation of this folk sensation…
When I first heard that Eliza Carthy had decided to up the stakes on the folk scene and form a folk big band, to play her greatest hits compilation, Wayward Daughter, in 2013 I was expecting a new version of the late Bellowhead.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Wayward band stand on their own two feet and are the must see folk act of the next few years.
The Wayward band are, in no particular order, Sam Sweeney (Bellowhead) David Delarre (Mawkin) Barn Stradling (Soe’za, Blowzabella, Kings of Calicutt) Saul Rose (Whapweasel,Edward II,Waterson:Carthy,Kings of Callicut) Andrew Waite (Tyde), Laurence Hunt (Dreams of Tall Buildings) Beth Porter (Eliza Carthy Band, Reg Meuross), Lucy Farrell (Emily Portman Trio) Willy Molleson (Peatbog Fearies, Kith & Kin) Nick Malcolm (Moonlight Saving Time) Adrien “Yen-Yen” Toulouse (Fanfare Gonzo).
The show consisted of their album, Big Machine, out on the 3rd February on Topic Records, played in pretty much its entirety, along with one or two other selected tracks.
The whole band sound like they are having THE best time of their lives on stage. From minute one, they lit the theatre of the RNCM up with a sound so vibrant, that the entire crowd were transported.
The fact that English folk music is having such a resurgence in the 21st Century is down to acts like Bellowhead, but the Wayward band are taking it to a whole new level and a whole new audience.
There is an almost punk energy about the whole set up that oozes into the audience, and soon everyone was stamping their feet, clapping their hands and, without exception, they had a smile on their face.
If you still think of folk music as flat caps and singers with a finger in one ear, you are in for a shock.
This is folk music for a new generation, whilst still keeping one foot firmly rooted in tradition. One of the standout tracks is a cover of Salford’s very own Ewan McColl’s The Fitters Song, which Eliza was asked to sing on a different tour by Ewan’s widow, Peggy Seeger.
With the backing of the band, it is a rip roaring tale of a female engineer, and one that is available on the limited edition EP.
The first single from the album is already available to download, and you can see the amazing video for it here
The band are still on tour, and I recommend you get tickets and go see them before they are only available at festivals.