The first week of February sees a trio of indie and alternative folk outfits visit Manchester over the course of five days. With so many shades to the genre, it has seen something of a surge in popularity over recent years with the likes of Bon Iver, First Aid Kit, Laura Marling and Mumford And Sons laying claim to airwaves around the world. The Head And The Heart, Matthew And The Atlas and Shovels And Rope will already be on the radar of all you folkies out there, but allow us to introduce the acts stopping off in Manchester for those less familiar.
On Wednesday 1st February, Seattle indie-folk outfit The Head And The Heart will be taking the stage at Gorilla, touring their finely crafted 2016 release Signs Of Light. Following the release of their 2011 self-titled debut, the band quickly went from performing open mic nights to selling out prestigious venues in their native America. Their live sets are dynamic and boisterous affairs, where band members constantly play off one another to provide a warm and lively set to enthusiastic audiences.
Friday the 3rd sees the visit of Matthew & The Atlas, stopping off at the Soup Kitchen four dates into a new European tour. London-based Matthew Hegarty is touring his latest record Temple, a collection of tender folk-rock productions awash with reflective charm. Though brought up in the more familiar grounds of Aldershot, his work is a very American affair; Temple was recorded in Nashville with Foreign Fields duo Brian Holl and Eric Hillman. It is a production sitting on the darker end of the folk spectrum, which translates to stage with grace.
The Ruby Lounge will be hosting husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst on Sunday 5th February, better known as Americana indie-folk duo Shovels & Rope from South Carolina. They’re loved for their ragged and rattling grooves, strong harmonies and character-driven songs. Their latest record, Little Seeds, is both reflective and celebratory of life, leaning a little more to the experimental side of folk rock. Possessing a relentless attitude to touring, their shows are high energy get-togethers, brimming with chemistry and tight musicianship.