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Blair Dunlop — Blight & Blossom (2012)

 Blair Dunlop — Blight & Blossom

Blair Dunlop — Blight & Blossom
≥   Solo début album by English singer-songwriter, original guitarist and rising star of 'folk' and beyond. Features Blair's version of a previously unreleased Richard Thompson song.
≥   Blair Dunlop is a phenomenal guitarist and one of the finest young singer-songwriter. For his first solo, full-length album, Blair's friend Richard Thompson has additionally given him one of his own previously unrecorded compositions 'Seven Brothers' to add to the tracks recorded.
≥   Blair is joined by Larkin Poe, Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman), (the legendary) Ashley Hutchings, Pete Zorn, Tim Harries, Mark Hutchinson, Guy Fletcher and a string quartet, for a set that goes way beyond any narrow definition of 'folk'.
≥   Dunlop is the son of folk musician Ashley Hutchings (formerly a member of Fairport Convention, and currently of the Rainbow Chasers).
Born: 11 February 1992
Location: Derbyshire, England
Album release: October 1st, 2012
Record Label: Rooksmere Records
Duration:     53:06
01. Secret Theatre      (4:51)
02. Less The Pawn      (4:39)
03. Fallout      (5:57)
04. Threads      (4:49)
05. Billy In The Lowground      (4:50)
06. Black Is The Colour      (4:21)
07. The Gown      (4:12)
08. Bags Outside The Door      (4:15)
09. Trouble      (4:34)
10. Seven Brothers      (4:43)
11. Blight & Blossom      (5:56)
Website: http://blairdunlop.com/
MySpace: www.myspace.com/blairdunlop
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4psPexpJXU
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blairdunlop
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blairdunlopmusic

 © Mark Hutchinson , at Rooksmere Studios for helping steer Blair Dunlop.
Robin Denselow
— theguardian.com, Thursday 4 October 2012 22.07 BST
Score: ***
≥   The British folk scene has produced a series of impressive dynasties, and this looks like the start of yet another. Blair Dunlop is the 20-year-old son of Ashley Hutchings, famed for his role as co-founder of Fairport Convention, and this assured debut set shows that he is already an accomplished guitarist and singer, with considerable potential as a song-writer. His style is impressively varied, switching from thoughtful, drifting ballads to more upbeat songs, often with an American country or bluegrass edge, and a series of covers. It's often his instrumental work that is most distinctive, from the finger-picking guitar on Secret Theatre (his contribution to the "who wrote Shakespeare?" debate) to the piano playing on The Gown, another unlikely ballad, dealing with the Mormon belief that women can become angels. Elsewhere, he tackles more predictable topics, from stifled lives to the dumbing down of the arts. He's at his best on the traditional Black Is the Colour and a bleak, previously unrecorded Richard Thompson song, Seven Brothers. The American band Larkin Poe add classy support on several songs – and his dad makes one appearance on bass. ≥   (http://www.theguardian.com/)
In french:
≥   Rien à voir avec le Tony du même nom ni même l'inventeur du pneumatique... Du très bon folk rock british qui fait parfois penser musicalement aux illustres anciens (Pentangle, par exemple) et pour la voix on note quelques similitudes avec Jude (qui lui est un singer songwriter américain). Bref, un très bon premier album, vivement recommandé.
— Rosamund Woodroffe
≥   The latest release, Blight and Blossom, from the 2012 BBC young folk finalist Blair Dunlop is light, fresh and vibrant. He mixes jaunty guitar tunes with rich instrumentals and expressive vocals.
≥   The album begins with the track Secret Theatre, which is about the theory that Marlowe wrote some if not all of Shakespeare’s work. It has a slow and steady rhythm and exhibits Dunlop’s wonderfully soulful voice.
≥   One of the best exhibitions of his beautiful vocals is featured on the traditional track Black is the Colour, a duet also featuring Rebecca Lovell. They both sound velvety and luxurious, a sound which is beautifully combined with simple instrumentation making it one of the highlights of the album.
≥   Another highlight is Fallout, which laments the judgements people (usually adults) make about teenage love and break ups. A song of sentiment with great instrumentation, the banjo counter-part is especially good, and was reassuring as it plucked away in the background.
≥   Bags at the Door is fantastic and jogs along with bags of energy, and Seven Brothers, a track written by Richard Thompson, is frightfully atmospheric. Billy in the Lowground is shamelessly cheery and has a wonderful rolling guitar part. There are some tracks which are less catchy, but still exhibit tenderness and delicacy.
≥   Blight and Blossom is upbeat, accessible and cohesive. Which is an achievement made greater by the fact that the majority of the tracks are originals. That fact might put off more traditional folk fans, but should not be held against Blair.
≥   Blair Dunlop is a raising a following which far outstrips his young years. In Blight and Blossom he has created an album which is accessible to folk and non-folk fans alike. He is a musician who will be as popular in the mainstream as he deserves. ≥   (http://www.brightyoungfolk.com/)
— JJMG on October 27, 2012 at 8:00am
— By BAXTER LABATOS; Posted on April 9, 2013
Blair Dunlop on Style, Legacy and the Horizon Award (Interview)
≥   I am a big fan of The Fairport Convention. To talk to someone like Blair Dunlop who is genetically linked to the musical greats, is such an amazing thing. He has crafted his own artistic identity through the release of his solo album Blight and Blossom(Rooksmere Records).  Get to know him more through this interview.
≥   Breton singer/songwriter Dom Duff introduced me to Blair Dunlop. “He met me in Midlands airport last September.” Dom added that Blair’s new album is now out and that his father’s the founding member of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and Albion Band. Another interesting trivia: Blair appeared in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the young Johnny Depp.  So Dom offered Blair’s contact information and I took it from there. See how blogging connects people?
≥   So I got in touch with the singer/songwriter and we introduced one another before launching this interview. He provided his phone number in case I want to do it by phone by I suggested doing an email interview would be easier for both of us. And it gives us more time to think what to write each other.
≥   Your hands are full between promoting The Albion band and your solo album. It must be a good start of the year for you.
≥   Yeah it’s a busy time, but it’s exciting. I like to push myself musically, so to have different projects on the go feels right for me. They’re very different projects too, so that keeps me stretched as a musician. Which I like.
≥   How do you describe the sound on your solo project compared to The Albion band which I believe has a more Celtic sounding style?
≥   The sounds are very different. The Albion Band sound is definitely fuller and rockier. Not really Celtic though, it’s English folk rock based on traditional English tunes and traditions as opposed to Irish or Scottish. My solo stuff is far more stripped back and showcases more of my songwriting and acoustic guitar playing. In short, it’s
more acoustic.
≥   What’s the feeling  after bagging the prestigious BBC folk award?
≥   Winning the Horizon Award was great. It was a great night and I met some great people, but to be acknowledged by the BBC was special. It’s an organization that has a reputation all over the world, so the award has a certain weight. It was a welcome start to the year.
≥   What are these projects you hinted on the first question and can you expound on them for the benefit of our readers?
≥   I have my solo work (I now go out solo, as a trio and as a band) doing my personal material; the Albion Band which is a more folk/rock outfit; and an EP and some gigs in April with 2 American songwriting sisters, the Lovell sisters of Larkin Poe.
≥   How do you describe your smooth singing style and who are your vocal influences growing?
≥   It’s easier for me to cite guitar and writing influences as opposed to singing influences… Hmm, good question. My biggest singing would probably be Jim Moray (who I have a gig with tonight, actually!) because he treats traditional material in a very modern way, we have similar voices naturally and I can see some of myself in him.
≥   How does it feel to be part of the family that made the legendary band Fairport Convention?
≥   It’s normal for me I guess, so it’s hard to answer. It’s a great family of people and musicians and it’s been a big part of my growing up, especially Cropredy Festival. The traditional music is inside me, and that’s probably largely to do with Fairport.
Fortaken: http://celticmusicfan.com/
Link: www.thealbionband.com

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