JASON STEEL

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Tuesday 2 July 2013

Little word from me of late, sorry. I have been busy as a bee helping co-ordinate the two latest Rif Mountain releases - printing the sleeves for Robert Sunday’s ‘Kith & Kin’ E.P and an illustration for the inner panel of Phil Tyler’s ‘We Sunk the Ship to Get Rid of the Rats’ album. Robert’s E.P is a lesson in stark, lo-fi song-smithery. Phil has delivered nearly an hour of wonderful, hypnotic banjo and guitar work. I’m so pleased to have worked on both of these. First off, they are great records. And – I think they look good.

They are available to order at the Rif Mountain Shop. I cannot recommend them enough.

I played with Michael Chapman this weekend as part of the Leigh Folk Festival, which I always love playing. To my mind it's the finest festival in England! There, I said it. Anyhows - a bunch of us stayed up drinking after the show. Michael told some amazing John Fahey stories, including the time John got a bear drunk on Guiness (a drink Fahey felt ‘held mystical powers’). A truly special evening. Thank you to everyone who came out.

The rest of the festival was utterly brilliant – a Shirley Collins talk, The Copper Family, Blood On A Feather, C Joynes and Stephanie Hladowskithe (knock-out!) and Alisdair Roberts, whose 'Galoshins' collaboration with puppet company Sokobauno show was utterly, utterly brilliant.

More from me soon. Hope to see some of you at the Village Green festival in a few weeks.

Thank you - PEACE.

Saturday 6 April 2013

'Black Train Recordings' has SOLD OUT - as ever, thank you. I hope people enjoyed the packages that were sent out.

I've been preparing a set of songs for the upcoming Witches' Prayer event, which takes place Friday April 19th at East 15, Southend-on-Sea. The night commemorates the Essex witch trials that occurred between 1580-1690. Late last year I spoke with Leigh Folk Festival organiser Paul Collier about some songs I'd been composing around Arthur Miller's 1953 play 'The Crucible', a staggering tale of the Salem witch trials. When the idea for this event came up, Paul got in touch... The night has lots happening; Darren Hayman will be performing songs from his recent album 'The Violence' which centres around the Essex witch trials. Also - readings, screenings and Leigh's own Greenvine performing. All the details are here. I'm very excited about this one... I hope to see you there. For you organised sorts, tickets are available here.

Thank you - PEACE.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

'Black Train Recordings' is available from the store now. Five tracks recorded by Steven Collins featuring voice, banjo, dobro and 12 string guitar. Originally a run of thirty back in 2011, this edition comes housed in a very lovely two colour block cut sleeve. Hand printed by illustrator Jake Blanchard (the same happening cat that's worked for Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Pelt!) - they are fine lookin' indeed. This numbered edition of seventy won't be repressed.

The first twenty orders come with a little something extra too...

You can listen to the whole E.P here, should one be so inclined.

I hope you people enjoy. Thanks

Monday 21 January 2013

I hope everyone is warm and well. Pretty snow still on the ground as I write... Twenty Thirteen! That came quick. I am late in saying this, but it is heartfelt-Thank you to everyone that bought the album. Thank you to everyone that came out to shows. Thank you to everyone that emailed nice messages, wrote reviews or spread the word in whatever way. Yep-Thank you..

I’ll be posting the ‘Black Train’ e.p in the store as soon as it is ready... Jake Blanchard (responsible for the beautiful artwork on the last Pelt l.p) has nearly finished printing the sleeves, and they look great; here's the beautiful poster he did for my December London show...

I’m working on lots of new music-a track for a vinyl compilation on the Lyke Wake Dirges label based around the themes of ritual & folklore customs, a batch of songs based around Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible' (which will tie in with a live event in Leigh on Sea on April 19th)... Check the shows page for a July date with Michael Chapman. More soon I hope. Also-My label Rif Mountain has some fine releases lined up for this year, kicking of with a solo banjo album by the unreasonably good Phil Tyler. More on the way.

Happy New Year all. Perfect Sound Forever.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

A huge THANK YOU to everyone that has come out to the recent shows-playing with Meg Baird in Brighton was a real joy. The eve was made even sweeter by Ryosuke and Mari bringing me a present from Japan-you can see my clay singing bird in the picture. Thank you! A fine review appeared on the No Depression blog, which you can read here.

Thanks to fRoots & Shindig! magazine for their rave reviews of the album. Shucks.

The 'Subscriber Edition' vinyl is now long gone. I do have a few copies of the numbered vinyl left; I'll take it down from the store when it's gone.

I have just moved back to North London's boho mecca Stoke Newington. Writing. Listening to those early RCA Dolly Parton records...

Monday 21 August 2012

The vinyl version of 'The Weight of Care' has arrived, and is available from the store now. A hand-numbered edition of 250 copies world wide. Housed in a heavy card sleeve, direct-to-metal mastered and pressed onto 180g vinyl. I want to say a massive 'thank you' to everyone who pre-ordered for their patience in waiting for this puppy...

I have 10 copies of the 'pre-order' edition left, which comes with a host of extras, each item a hand printed/numbered edition of sixty. 'Bare Weight' - a lino-printed CDr of the album with no overdubs; 'The White Moth' - 3" CDr of edited instrumental field recordings in a screened cover, plus a numbered print of the hare drawing featured on the LP sleeve. THE FIRST TEN ORDERS FROM THE SHOP WILL BE THE 'PRE-ORDER' EDITION. Please contact me if you'd like to confirm your order.

What else? Please check into the shows page for the latest dates. I had a session broadcast on Brighton's Simple Folk Radio. I went down to the studio to play some records too. We finished at one in the morning. The show has been archived - you can listen here. Also, the Rif Mountain site has been shined up a notch... check the Links box.

Thanks & peace x

Monday 16 July 2012

Thank you to everyone for all the orders. I hope people are enjoying the album (and talking about it incessantly to their friends/neighbours/strangers on the street). I'm building up live dates to support the record, check the Shows page for details.

The 'Martha Promise' EP is now SOLD OUT. It really moved fast... I'm planning a second pressing of the 'Black Train Recordings' EP next (the first run sold out in like an hour), so watch this space for that. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list if you haven't already for updates on releases, shows etc. I've updated my SoundCloud page with tracks from various EPs. Have a listen. I'll be updating it regular, like.

I've been privileged enough to record with New Lost City Ramblers' founder and Dylan inspiration Tom Paley on his new record (the inaugural release on the fine Hornbeam Recordings). The label's mastermind Ski Williams put together a fine gang to back Tom up on this record, christening us the 'Old Time Moonshine Revue'. It's been receiving some rave reviews and massive airplay (we did a live session on Cerys Matthew's BBC 6 Music show, listen here), and I'll be touring the record with Tom & Co. throughout September. Check the label's site for dates. Here's me & Tom duetting on the appalachian standard 'Little Birdie', as it went down in Dave Morgan's home studio.

Thanks again to all who've ordered the record direct. Cheers.

Tues 3 July 2012

My new album 'The Weight of Care' is available to order now from the store. The official release date is August 13th, but you can get it here direct. Some of you may know this record has taken a while to birth... I couldn't be happier to finally see her out and about. She looks and sounds great. It's a six panel sleeve-the pictures don't do her justice...

I also have a new EP titled 'Martha Promise'- Six tracks recorded by Mr. Steven Collins the morning after playing with Cath & Phil Tyler during my short February tour. The session consisted of the songs I'd been playing out, and I think we did a good job of capturing them (birdsong & all). The CDr EP comes in a two colour lino-printed sleeve, with two inserts, housed in a protective poly-bag. A hand numbered edition of one hundred. Available from the store now...

I've literally just spun the test pressing of 'The Weight...' vinyl LP - it sounds great. It shall be shipping in the next two weeks. To all those who pre-ordered-I can only offer my utmost thanks for your support and patience in waiting for this. I *promise* it will be a killer package, completely exclusive to you guys...

More updates as they come. Peace out.

Thurs 17 May 2012

My weekend of shows was awesome. Brighton was particularly magic. Thanks to Scott at Shhh! for putting on such a fine evening, and for skilfully arranging a full moon in the night sky.

I was lucky enough to play with The Diamond Family Archive that night. This was my first time seeing Laurence & Co. play. They were knockout. Seek out their music for a better overall life experience.

The new album should be getting its first playback after mastering tomorrow. On Monday, it'll go into production. Thanks to all who've pre-ordered, it's gonna be a nice package...

Mon 30th Apr, 2012

Well, it's been a little while-I have been as busy as Pan carving the pipes. My February tour was a truly brilliant time-thank you so much to all the promoters & people who came out.

Thanks also to everyone that's pre-ordered a copy of my new L.P-it's just getting the final mastering tweaks prior to pressing.

I have a little trio of shows coming up-

Fri 4/5- I'll be opening for my friend, American Beat songster & ghost-folk legend Tucker Zimmerman on his only U.K show. Camden's Green Note. Tickets and info here.

Sat 5/5-I'm playing with The Diamond Family Archive and Tandy Hardin Brighton. The venue is West Hill Hall. It's a great venue-be sure to bring your own booze. I mean, I ALWAYS bring my own booze, but this time it's actually encouraged. Finally! A show where I don't have to smuggle Buckfast in my banjo case... Tickets & info here.

Sun 6/5-I've been invited to this year's Bristol Folk Festival to celebrate the Village Thing label that operated in that fine city in the early seventies. I'll be sharing the stage with Wizz Jones, Ian A. Anderson + Ben Mandelson, Tucker Jones and Nancy Wallace.

Also-I've been asked to play the fine 2000 Trees festival this summer, July 12th-14th. I'll be on the Greenhouse stage on Friday 13th of July. Lots of people have raved to me about this festival, I'm psyched. More here.

I hope to see you on the road-more updates here soon. Peace out.

Sun 12th Feb, 2012

Thanks to all of you who came out to see us on Fri. We had a good one.

As promised, here is a pic of the tour cds. Each one is unique. Adorned with an illustration by Jake Blanchard, and screen-printed by him too. Thanks go to Jake for a great job.

If you're interested in reserving a copy then mail me on the contact link. Be quick though, there are only 30 copies.

I'm off to Cornwall now for the next gig, I'll write more soon.

Hope to see you on the tour.

Fri 10th Feb, 2012

The tour starts today. I hope to see you along the way.

A few additions and changes. The Garden gig will be at St Jude's Tavern. Plus I now have another date at the end, in Bristol. I have also put together a tour cd with the help of illustrator Jake Blanchard, I'll post a pic soon.

You can reserve your copy of the new album, The Weight of Care, ahead of its release on April 2nd - it comes as a deluxe LP package with a CD-r containing a special 'laid bare' mix of the album with no overdubs, and the first 50 copies will also come with an exclusive CD-r EP containing some newly recorded instrumental tracks.

To reserve your copy click here.

// Tour //

Friday 10/2 - London King's Place

(w/Nancy Wallace)

Monday 13/2 - Liskeard The Barley Sheaf

Wednesday 15/2 - Exmouth Arms Cheltenham

Friday 17/2 - Leigh on Sea Methodist Church

(w/Cath & Phil Tyler)

Saturday 18/2 - Ipswich The Garden St Jude's Tavern

Friday 9/3 - The Louisiana Bristol

Sunday 18/3 - Portland Folk Club Cambridge

Friday 23/3 - The Grain Barge Bristol


Peace and love.

Sat 3rd Dec, 2011

'I Lost My North' is available to download from itunes & bandcamp on the 19/12/2011. Taken from the forthcoming album 'The Weight of Care'.

The video was filmed and edited with the debonair Andrew Cloke. We'll be working on more projects soon, I'm pleased to say.

I'm very privileged to have so many fine musicians guesting on this record- Jonny Bridgwood on string bass (Morrisey/The Stingrays), the viola & fiddle of Rob Spriggs (Tindersticks), the fine trumpet of Sam Barton (Teeth of the Sea), The electric bass of Steven Collins (The Owl Service) and drummer extraordinaire Dan Gardner. The fine Nancy Wallace has provided not only her voice but accordion, concertina & brass/string arrangements. I am excited about it's imminent arrival into this world.

The album is due for a February release, and I have a short tour around the south of England booked to celebrate. Come out! Shake hands! Buy drinks! It would be lovely to see you.

Friday 10/2 - London King's Place

(w/Nancy Wallace)

Monday 13/2 - Liskeard The Barley Sheaf

Tuesday 14/2 - Bristol TBA

Wednesday 15/2 - Cheltenham TBA

Thursday 16/2 - Brighton TBA

Friday 17/2 - Leigh on Sea Methodist Church

(w/Cath & Phil Tyler)

Saturday 18/2 - Ipswich, The Garden


Peace be with you & speak soon.

Sun 9th Oct, 2011

I wrote some words about Bert Jansch on the Rif Mountain site (read here).

I always get a slight touch of 'The Fear' when the seasons change ... though October always wins me in the end. Belated thanks to all the people who came out to the recent shows – it's been a pleasure. Meeting Flying Saucer Attack's David Pearce in Cheltenham was a genuine highlight. His attempts to articulate his disdain for the music of Jeff Buckley were awesome to hear.

I'm currently getting dates together to follow the album release in February, I'm very excited indeed.

This photo is me printing up the Black Train CD sleeve. A new BT session is going down soon, I'm psyched. Also hoping to post a track+artwork from the new album soon.

I was lying in bed the other night when I decided to put the 'Plastic Ono Band' on. I totally forgot about the bit where John says 'Cookie' in 'Hold On'. I laughed & laughed in the dark, like a loon ...

Sat 16th Jul, 2011

Leigh Folk Festival was a beauty (despite a Saturday you had to swim through). Highlight for me was Men Diamler at the New Road Methodist Church - you must get out and see him, before it is too late. Visit here and find where he is next, while you still can.

Busy times. A new EP...
The Reverend Gary Davis spoke of a Black Train that would appear to him when he played; it is in this spirit that Rif Mountain has begun its Black Train Recordings sessions. A series of limited, hand-made releases containing one-off recording sessions, mantra-jams, improvisions & collaberations from the RM roster & alumni. The first appeared on the Rif Mountain site a couple of weeks back and quickly sold out.

A 3" CD in stamped white sleeve. Signed & numbered linoleum block print pressed on a Dryad Handicraft turn-wheel press. Insert typed on an Olympia steel-bodied typewriter. Presented in a handstamped black envelope, numbered on reverse. Edition of 30 copies.

The inaugural Black Train consisted of songs I had prepared for the show with Tom Paley (on solo 5 and 6 string banjo, guitar & lap steel), as well as an improvisation on 12 string guitar;

1) Warfare Is A-Raging
2) Oh, Goodbye Booze
3) Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me
4) Bo'Weavil
5) Black Window

Steven Collins recorded these live to two microphones. He permitted one cigarette break.

---

My next longplayer shall be seeing a limited, hand assembled vinyl release before the CD. Watch this space. I'm very chuffed indeed to have Rob Spriggs (Tindersticks, Memory Band) adding his wonderful viola and fiddle playing. I'm hoping to have rough mixes to post soon. Doing lots of recording and drawing. Planning a trek to Snowdonia. Reading The Shining. Cycling to work listening to '... And Justice For All'.

Sun 22nd May, 2011

The new long player is coming together nicely. Two days at John Hannon's No Recording Studio (which helped birth records by James Blackshaw & Dead Flowers) followed by various sessions at various homes. It should be ready for the Autumn. Live dates will emerge then. My only scheduled outing is the upcoming Leigh Folk Festival, where I'll be helping to kick the weekend off alongside Tom Paley & The Famous Potatoes at the New Road Methodist Church (Friday 17th June), Leigh on Sea. This is a full on Old Timey evening (with a 78 rpm DJ) in the company of Tom - a master of the craft. I'm looking forward to airing some country blues I've carried in my heart for years but never performed out. They'll be an exclusive recording for sale at this show - if you can't make it down, drop me a line & I'll arrange to get one to you. The Wallace-Steel Group will be playing during the weekend too. Come say hello.

In other news, I heard they've re-made 'Fright Night'. I'm pretty sure Brewster will no longer be so cool. These cowboys came from North London's now defunct House of Aksler - my room is full of tat from there...

Mon 4th Apr, 2011

Watford was A Good One. It was nice telling the tale of waking up in London Zoo after the super-moon. Thanks to everyone for being sweet (and to the girl who shouted for 'Pomegranate'). I drew a picture of the Cross of St. Peter that detailed the prices of items on the merch table, and someone took it.

The next show is the Rout of the Blues night at the Wilmington Arms, East London on the 20th April. Tickets here. I'll be performing with Nancy Wallace (alongside Jonny Bridgwood on string bass & Joolie Wood on fiddle) as the Wallace Steel Group, plus a solo set each as support. Do say hello if you venture out. The Wilmington Arms has a basement straight from the house at the end of the Blair Witch Project (but with beer in ice buckets).

Weds 16th Mar, 2011

AN EVENING IN THE GARDEN

A fine evening in Ipswich was had last Friday. Some footage has appeared on YouTube, I believe. Many thanks to The Garden's band of brothers for being such gracious hosts (and spinning Uriah Heep's 'Gypsy' at 3 in the morning).

Weds 9th Mar, 2011

IPSWICH GIG THIS FRIDAY

On Friday March 11th I'm heading to Suffolk for Albion Nights 2, hosted by the Garden DJs { www.myspace.com/thegardenpresents }. I'll be ably assisted by Nancy Wallace (we'll both airing new material from our forthcoming albums) and support comes from the Norwich Harp Society. It's happening at PJ McGinty's in Ipswich, kicking off at 8pm and admission is 3 English pounds.