Special thank you to Kev Boyd for the use of his wonderful photo of Swarb which we've used on all the promotional material for the tour and for the EP.
"I was in two minds as to whether I should have called this a Dave Swarbrick review or various artists, as the title is subtitled, 'Dave Swarbrick guests on tracks by The Blue Pig Orchestra, Said The Maiden, John Farndon and Kelly Oliver' I thought it was most practical to go with the former.
Dave Swarbrick is patron of the Folkstock Arts Foundation and this release comes about through an initiative of theirs, where artists were invited to submit tracks and a lucky few would have Dave Swarbrick make a fiddle contribution to them, passing the baton from his generation to the next. By coincidence, Dave Swarbrick also happens to be a Fatea Lifetime Achievement Award holder and three of the four artists that he's contributed to have appeared on the Fatea Showcase Sessions, so I was always going to be really interested in this release and I guess I should sort of declare an interest.
The things I really love about "Passing The Baton" is how diverse the songs are. There's none that you wouldn't call folk, but they are all so different and therefore Swarbs contribution is also very different, highlighting what a sympathetic musician he is and why he's considered one of the musicians of his generation.
"Passing The Baton" is a great success, everyone involved ends up a winner. The fiddle gets to showcase its flexibility as an instrument, Swarbs shows why he has so many years of playing behind him and four diverse artists get an opportunity to have their songs embellished by one of folk's great musicians. Can't do anything other than recommend this and recommend it strongly.
Do check out the Folkstock Arts Foundation to discover more about this release and the organisations other activities. All of the artists featured on the EP will also be appearing with Dave Swarbrick on at least one date of his tour, more details on site".
Neil King, FATEA
“It’s been a fascinating few weeks trying to figure out what to play on these tracks; after all, these songs are personal to the composers who all have the finished tune in their mind’s ear, some will like what I came up with, while others may not.
There were many tracks that were submitted which were good but when I got down to the nitty gritty, were not steady enough to work on, given I was doing it remotely, or in some cases, two instruments or more not playing together in a way that the fiddle could enhance. There were others that simply didn’t need me on at all, much as I loved the songs and they almost seemed to cry out ‘leave me alone’! Luke Jackson’s entry fell into that category, as did many of the others, such as songs from Lanre and Minnie Birch.
I learnt just how vibrant and brave the current crop of musicians are, and I would like to take this moment to personally thank each of the entrants and to wish them well in their endeavours.
These are the tracks which we are delighted to announce will appear on four track EP we are calling ‘Passing the Baton’. They are all very different and I think they are great fun to listen to, and certainly were to perform on. I look forward to playing with these artists at least once during the tour.
“I am so looking forward to touring this year with Helen Meissner’s Folkstock Arts Foundation. She has the welfare of her artistes as a priority, is honest and super capable. I reckon I’m also going to enjoy meeting the up and coming musicians who are going to be presented as the local opening acts” David Swarbrick
These are the tracks I chose and why. The notes about each artist are on the individual tracks on here.
Gallows Hill by The Blue Pig Orchestra. This was well recorded and was also an interesting song. Something a bit different for the EP and it reminded me a little of the work of Pentangle.
Peace in my heart by John Farndon. This grabbed me from the start. There is a poignancy in this song as sung by John that moves me, even more so because it’s sung by what sounds like an older man reflecting on the terrible things he sings of. Well done John, it’s a masterpiece.
Grandpa was a Stoker by Kelly Oliver is already blazing a trail as a result of her EP release. She is enthusing audiences wherever she goes and leaving nothing but good vibes in her wake. If you haven’t heard her yet it’s my pleasure to introduce her here.
Shady Grove by Said the Maiden. Funnily enough, of almost 50 entrants in a folk orientated competition this was the only traditional entry. I like anything these girls do, they mean it!
Loved their arrangement and it lent itself well to my fiddle style.
Thanks to Lauren Deakin Davies who assembled and mastered the tracks.