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Posted on Sat 24 Jan 2015

Hamell On Trial The Errigle Inn, Belfast on Thursday 19 February 2015

To mark the 15th Anniversary of the release of Hamell on Trial's seminal album Choochtown (or it could be 14 years, frankly everybody around here was too dusted to write any sh*t down....) Hamell will be performing the seminal Choochtown album in its entirety in select engagements throughout the UK and Ireland. 

Hailed as "Absolutely Brilliant" by Uncut Magazine with a 5 star review, "Poignant!" by The Stereo Times and “A One Man Tarantino Flick” by The Village Voice, it was voted the #6 Record of the Year by Uncut for 2001. Choochtown was a DIY celebration of the street recorded in Hamell's dirt floor basement in his Brooklyn tenement after being 'let go' from his first major label deal on Mercury/Universal. 

“I remember being highly influenced and excited by Pulp Fiction, Kurosawa's Rashomon, and Biggie Small's Life After Death”, recalls Hamell, “And being not particularly impressed by what the current vogue of 'singer-songwriters' were doing. I was on my own as far as not being on a label so what did I have to lose if I opened up an album with 'Go F*ck Yourself' ?” 

Hamell will be peppering the performance with songs in a similar vein from his extensive catalog. Choochtown's main character, Bobby, has appeared on several of Hamell's albums. “Bobby is like a combination of a lot of my screw ball underworld friends. Lovable petty criminals in the Damon Runyon vein. It's just the majority of the incidents I write about are true.” 

Using his trademark high-energy stage show, whip-lash tongue and machine gun guitar, Hamell is excited to revisit what some consider to be his masterpiece and performing some songs never heard live before. Hamell quips: “You'll be so dazzled you won't even know I stole your wallet. Or your girlfriend.”

Posted on Thu 04 Dec 2014

Greg Brown The Errigle Inn, Belfast on Saturday 7 February 2015

Folk icon Greg Brown released Hymns To What Is Left (Sawdust Records, marking his 25th studio album) through online distributor CDBaby on October 2nd, 2012, the same day that his wife Iris Dement released her album, Sing The Delta (Flariella Records). 

Fueled by a signature rumbling baritone voice, (after receiving multiple Grammy nominations, over a 30 year career and building an astonishingly deep songbook - that has been covered by dozens of frontline artists - while touring incessantly), Brown’s recent Freak Flag (Yep Roc 2011) was stunning in its tenderness and unfiltered emotional depth; beyond that, it found Brown reenergized to the recording process, making way for his latest truly potent tour de force, Hymns To What Is Left.

At the core of Hymns To What Is Left is the near-magical, copacetic interplay of Brown's driven and graceful acoustic picking with longtime collaborator/producer Bo Ramsey's distinctive artful soundscapes via bell-toned electric guitars and haunting slide.

In co-producing the album, Ramsey and Brown dug all the way into “less-is-more” and came out with a recording spotlighting Brown’s artistry on all levels. No drums or bass, the rustic mix was rounded out with contributions by Bob Black (banjo), Al Murphy (fiddle and mandolin), Dave Moore (button accordion), and daughter Pieta Brown (banjo, piano, harmony vocals), and cameo otherworldly harmonies by wife Iris Dement and daughter Constie Brown.

The result is an album of 14 uniquely unforgettable songs that find Greg Brown at the peak of his estimable vocal powers supported by an all-world stringband that's absolutely locked-in--in short, a masterpiece that may well be the finest front-to-back endeavor of his career.