Sunday, 13 September 2015

Moseley Folk, Saturday afternoon

Four artists. Four conversations. Shots, sounds and snippets from a sunny afternoon at Moseley Folk Festival in Birmingham...

The Cadbury Sisters

Music apart, there's two great things about hometown festivals like Moseley and Mostly: the conversations and the reunions. 

I was gassing away with some mates when two Cadbury Sisters came bounding down the hill, wreathed in smiles. I'd first met them at Paul Murphy's Songwriters Cafe five years ago. I watched them do their first MoFo two years back. That scored them on-air support from Janice Long at Radio 2, who not only spotted their obvious potential but acted on it. It's gone rather well since then. Big hugs and a backstage chat, which became a mite difficult when the amiable and enjoyable Dawes started to kick up a storm. So just one question:

If what you do happens through your obvious mutual sisterly love as well as your creativity, are you now feeling pressure as success looms?
Jessica Cadbury: There are elements that test us as sisters and friends. Sometimes it's quite hard to draw a line between being professional and caring about one another. Obviously we're three very individual girls. There are times when we have three totally opposite ideals.

Lucy Cadbury: That blurred line has had to become a lot less blurred. But it's good. I think it could break a lot of people's friendships. But luckily for us, it's made us stronger.

Eleanor Dattani

Eleanor Dattani closed out the Ktchen Garden Cafe stage on Saturday afternoon, supported by Amit on some songs. This was the first time I'd seen her in her new solo incarnation, although she reminded me of a time before that, in a wholly different music vibe. Fluid, melodic, and very approachable on the KGC stage now, I'd been physically pinned to the walls by her previous band's turbocharged hyperbass...

You've been solo for only a few months. But you've been around in bands for some time.
I've been married for about a year (to Amit Dattani of Mellow Peaches), hence the change in name. I was Eleanor Williams before than. I've been writing songs for a while. Before that I was in Electric Swing Circus. I founded it with Tom Hyland. I sang with them for two years until 2013.
That was the point when they went fully pro, right? Which involves both risk and a possible drop in income...
That's it. Other factors too. I'm a teacher, teaching part-time and in the band part-time. When it came to the crunch, I decided that I liked teaching too much. But I wished them well, they're being very courageous. So now I play solo and with a band, the LEDs, with Amit and Dan Hayward.

Joanne Rowe

A new solo artist making her way, Joanne Rowe has bags of modern charm and old-school presence. She punched out a very nice set on the Kitchen Garden stage, battling against the somewhat savage basslines pumping up from the main stage, and made a lot of new friends.

You sound ever so traditional, but there's a sharp contemporary edge there...
I've never thought about my sound – just wrote and played what I wanted. But recent people like Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling – I love them.
Progress in your career? Pro, semi-pro?
Ha! I lost my job two weeks ago... so I'm a pro musician now! Soon as I lost my job, I went on tour. So now do I look for full-time work, or do I carry on doing this? And I have a cat to support...  


Whoever picked the artists for the Kitchen Garden stage knew what they were doing. It was where I spent a lot of my time before things got big down the hill. What's more, they got Stylusboy, straight out of Coventry, to not only do a set but compere, which was a fine notion. 

Part of the charm of the beer tent/tennis court stage at Moseley Folk is the simple fact that it's the place where new faces get exposure, which is a great plus... but the downside is it can feel like artists are thrown on without a lot of support. But Steve was there both to big up and offer a hand, which was a good thing.

The name 'Stylusboy' sounds all indie and post-punk....
I've got that background. But I've mellowed as I've aged... But I'm a folk musician now. I sing with an acoustic guitar, so I guess you could call me a folk musician, I have interesting times when I visit certain clubs... I'm very much a story-telling songwriter.
I was in in a sixth form rock band – we were going to take over the world. I had some serious success later, play on Radio 1 and Kerrang, all that. In one of those bands we developed an acoustic set and a rock set, and the acoustic set became more and more interesting. When that band stopped, on I went.
And when you start out, you've got to go on to an audience who don't know who the hell you are, and you've got to grab them.
What I love about playing is – people standing there saying 'entertain me'. And I love that challenge. I really enjoy capturing people.

Thank you

Thank you to the Cadbury Sisters, Stylus Boy, Eleanor Dattani and Joanne Rowe for geneously allowing me to record and present a track from each of them in this blog post.

Thanks, too, as always, to the entire MoFo team for the all access welcome.

Justin Reynolds engineered the Kitchen Garden stage, and the audio captures came cleanly through his desk. The Cadbury Sisters played the Lunar stage and I recorded them directly. 

I took some of the photos; The Cadbury Sisters shot is from Richard Shakespeare, and Stylusboy supplied his shot.


Eleanor Dattani
Joanne Rowe
The Cadbury Sisters

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