Funke and The Two Tone Baby – “Battles” album

One-man-band Daniel Turnbull, aka Funke and The Two Tone Baby, is a Blues/Americana musician that you won’t be able to help smile and jig along to.

There’s a lot of Blues out there, but Daniel has managed to craft a strong and charismatic sound that is so full of energy that you can’t help but listen. Using harmonicas, beat boxing, slide guitars and some guest vocals, the sound is rich, vibrant, and everything you’d expect from modern blues. The album is nicely paced, with songs like “Ode To The Pirate Ghost Witch” delivering slow, but powerful swells similar to Goldfrapp’s recent song “Annabel”, “The Woman Who Stood At The Edge Of The World” providing a surprising Jazz’y element, and in-your-face Americana songs like “Bella’s Kiss” and “Mountains” delivering the fun and the energy. His voice, too, is excellent, sounding both gruff and gentle when needed. The opening track, “Bella’s Kiss” is the highlight of the album for me.

Daniel is touring a vast number of dates between now and the end of September, including some local festivals, and a couple of dates in the Netherlands.

(If you like this, listen to Yeti Love)


Yeti Love (Album) – Far more than just an acoustic/folk album

I’m not normally one for acoustic or folk music – sure there is a time and a place for it, but it’s not frequent for me – so when I heard that Yeti Love were releasing their debut album, I was both interested in listening to it, but also a bit dubious as to whether it would be something I would buy. Yeti Love, ie Peter Hamilton and co, are a band that I met in a dingy practice space a couple of years ago during my time in a band. I have seen this project through from conception, to the early writing stages, and finally now to the release of the album, and so it feels fitting that I should share it given the time and effort I have seen go into this record. Prepare yourself for something pretty unique…

As I said earlier: folk music isn’t usually my thing. My acoustic music collection is fairly limited, and there is definitely no depth or character to it, so I concede that I am probably not the best judge of this music. That being said, Yeti Love have managed to put an alternative edge on their music that grabs me more than I thought it would. It has both a modern ‘nu-folk’ sound, and a feeling of harking back to folk’s musical heritage to it that makes this album more than just an acoustic record. It follows a trend of music that is trying to be more than the genre defines it should be; which is refreshing given all of the formula-copying bands out there.

The instrumentation on this album is diverse: including both bluesy and atmospheric electric guitars, full on drum beats and Mumford style percussion, banjos, and guest vocals. Each song has its own unique character (which is so often lacking in acoustic acts in my opinion), and so you’re rarely left feeling that you just listened to the same song 1 minute ago. Musical styles vary from upbeat Americana, to slower ballads, Blues, and finally to more alternative tracks that evidently draw inspiration from a much wider variety of music. Take for example “Ollos Do Sol”, which has a traditional English folk song sound to it, and “Blood On Her Hands” which is a fast paced party of a song that wouldn’t be out of place in an American bar. There is a song for everybody on this album, and I imagine fans comparing favourite tracks will definitely have an argument on their hands.

The standout tracks for me are “Dear John”, which has an alternative ‘Snow Patrol’ vibe to it that definitely makes it the most commercially viable, and “Blood On Her Hands” which has great energy and even manages to translate well into a recording. “Yeti Love” and “Ollos Do Sol” also deserve a listen.

I really am staggered at the sheer variety of styles that are covered on this album. Each song masters the genre it is trying to achieve with pin point accuracy – this is the music of someone who has a deep knowledge of the styles he is playing, and not just mimicking a sound for the sake of following a trend. The record feels like a trip through our musical heritage whilst managing to remain modern and relevant.

Overall, this is an impressive debut album for a man/band that is trying to achieve something quite difficult. Although this music won’t change my life personally, for people who are passionate about acoustic and folk music, this will be a very welcome addition to your collection.

Siôn Russell Jones “Despite My Burdens” – Anything BUT dragging me down

Siôn Russell Jones (pronounced ‘Sean’) is a Welsh singer/songwriter that has a voice as unique as his music. “Despite My Burdens” is the latest single and music video from his upcoming album “Lost No More”, and is the follow up to the brilliant song ‘Best Of Me’. This lad has performed at the legendary SXSW festival, and has been played by BBC 6Music recently, so he is definitely an artist to be keeping an eye on.

This latest single is a quirky mix of Americana, folk, and nu-folk that sounds little like his counterparts. The dynamics of all the sections of this songs are a bit disconcerting at first: opening up on a pub sing-along type section full of non-vocals, moving on to a quiet and relaxed verse, back to the energy of the pub, and then on to an Americana/country-style chorus that has an added blues element to it. One thing that you cannot say about this song is that it is boing. Sure, it may take a while for you to glue the separate parts together into a cohesive song, but once you grasp the sheer happiness and joy in this song, you’ll be wanting to sing and dance long as is it was written to do. The accompanying video also captures this beautifully; telling the tale of a sausage dog as he encounters some rather strange masked people. The happiness and positivism in his song writing and story-telling is welcome indeed.

Siôn has a wonderfully unique voice: although it’s soft and almost childlike at times, he has the control and projection of a true pro, whilst his Welsh accent puts a charming twist on it. Personally, if the whole song was sung like the verses, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the song as much as I do because there are ample amounts of male solo acts that reach for the heart strings at the moment. Thankfully, however, the chorus is ballsy and contrasts nicely with the down tempo verses. Siôn sure does know how to write a good song.

It’s also got to be said how good this artist’s other songs are. “Best Of Me” is an absolute giant of tune, whilst the Simon & Garfunkle-like harmonies demonstrated in his other, and upcoming releases are a refreshing sound for tired ears.

Siôn Russell Jones has got almost everything down: the song writing, the personal twist, the business sense, and the live performance. This boy is going from strength to strength, and I look forward to what he produces in the future.