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Southern Tenant Folk Union Biography

Last updated: 03/03/2013 05:25:23 AM

‘Revivals, Rituals & Union Songs’ is the second album release from Southern Tenant Folk Union, a London based band that in their short tenure have shredded all expectations associated with the term ‘bluegrass’ and developed into one of the most exciting groups performing and recording roots music in the UK.

‘Southern Tenant Folk Union’ (UNR004), their eagerly anticipated debut, brought instant recognition of the band’s potential.

‘Authentic as any Virginian mountain pickers' (Uncut) ‘Pop harmonies point firmly in the direction of Dillard & Clark‘ (Rock ‘n’ Reel)

A mere twelve months later they decamped to Reservoir Studios in London's Crouch End, where, under the guidance of engineer Chris Clarke (Alan Tyler, Redlands Palomino Company) went on to shape the material that would become ‘Revivals, Rituals & Union Songs'.

2007 proved a pivotal year in fomenting then cementing the bands reputation; 'All You Need To Know' earned airplay and praise from Radio 2's most eclectic of DJs, Mark Lamarr. Other selections from the album were aired by regional lovers of roots music on BBC Scotland, Wales and Ireland and many independent and Internet radio stations.

Formed in 2006, around the virtuoso banjo playing of Belfast born and London raised Pat McGarvey, Southern Tenant Folk Union built their name on captivating and engaging live performances, the strength, depth and blend of the vocals led by the uniquely haunting voice of Oliver Talkes.

‘(Live they) tap into an inheritance left over by the Stanley Brothers
’ (Irish Times)

They went on to tour extensively throughout the UK and Ireland, culminating in a number of celebrated festival appearances, including ‘Summer Sundae’, ‘The Electric Picnic’and ‘The Spitz Festival of Country’.

Hearing the new album proves a highly rewarding experience. Opener ‘Never Got The Best Of Me', as rambunctious as it is infectious, leads the listener into a collection of songs that weave styles and genres effortlessly. 'Back To Front' is a glorious Celtic soul fusion, debut single 'Cocaine' (UNR006) has an undeniable Eastern European gypsy influence, whilst 'Can You Light A Flame' drips with country harmonies. This tight, 40-minute record also delivers two live-in-the-studio cuts, 'Let It Roll' and 'No More Hard Times (No More Trouble)', as well as the song-writing debut from fiddle player, Frances Vaux, with her composition 'Changeling Child'.

‘Revivals, Rituals & Union Songs’ does what every second album strives to do; it surpasses the achievements of its predecessor and should ensure easy passage for Southern Tenant Folk Union on to the next level in terms of their artistic and commercial potential.

Southern Tenant Folk Union are:
Oliver Talkes - guitar and vocals
Pete Gow - guitar, harmonica and vocals
Eamonn Flynn - mandolin and vocals
Matt Lloyd - upright bass and vocals
Frances Vaux - fiddle and vocals
Pat McGarvey - banjo and vocals