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Exclusive Names at Tønder Festival

August 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th, 2017

An array of new international names of high-flying musicians are now on the roster for this year’s Tønder Festival: John Moreland, Karl Blau, Lion Bear Fox, Yola Carter, William Prince, Leyla McCalla and Mick Flannery.

One of Tønder Festival’s strongest suits is that it is here you can meet musicians you cannot find at other summer festivals. Many of the international artists are appearing exclusively at Tønder Festival. And the top-class names Tønder Festival can now reveal are no exception.

Hot Names on the Poster

American John Moreland, who opened for Jason Isbell at his 2016 concert at Vega in Copenhagen, is a promising newcomer. Karl Blau, playing in Odense in February, is one of the veterans of the indie scene in north-western USA. The Canadian trio Lion Bear Fox are among their homeland’s favourite groups right now; this is their first Danish appearance, too. William Prince, songwriter and singer at the top of his game, is already a notability.

British Yola Carter has a voice they say can melt anything, and she recently won the title of UK Artist of The Year at The UK Americana Awards 2017. From Louisiana we have the eminent cellist, banjo player and songwriter Leyla McCalla, and from Ireland, Mick Flannery, who was with us last year.

Tønder: first with the latest
As so often before, and again this year, Tønder Festival has found new international names and maintains its status as ‘first mover’, presenting fresh talent for the first time in Denmark. For instance, Canadians Lion Bear Fox and William Prince.

“On the americana scenes in USA and Canada we find lots of new and exciting musicians these days. Our aim is to give our audience the opportunity to hear them while they are still on their way up,” says Maria Theessink, artistic director at Tønder Festival.

The Musicians:

John Moreland (USA)
It was Steve Earle’s song Rich Man’s War that moved John Moreland from hardcore metal to folk music. From Tulsa in Oklahoma, with a voice grated in the same dust that tinted Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl ballads, John Moreland’s songs are rooted in that very same soil. His lyrics tell of crushed hopes and dreams of life on the fringes of a US town hit by recession and despair. John Moreland has released six albums and three EPs in under ten years, both in his own name and with rock bands Black Gold Band and The Dust Bowl Souls. Steve Earle’s inspiration is clear. The most recent album, called High on Tulsa Heat (2015), offers both quiet folk ballads and more rocking arrangements. John Moreland played in Denmark in January 2016, when he opened for Jason Isbell at Vega in Copenhagen. Now he is back, and his concert at Tønder Festival is his only performance in Denmark in the summer of 2017.

Lion Bear Fox (CAN)
Out of Vancouver in Canada, this storm of a trio is raging over Canada’s music scene right now. The three musicians are highly qualified in their genres: folk, rock, pop and a spoonful of West Coast growl. Their sound is massive, the vocals powerful and the songs relevant. All three - Christopher Arruda, Ryan McMahon and Cory Woodward - are songwriters and can perform solo. They united in 2012 and the following year produced and released their EP We’d Be Good Men with six of their own songs and one cover number: Ray LaMontagne’s Henry Nearly Killed Me. The record gained attention from Vancouver to Halifax, and the trio subsequently toured all over Canada. In February 2017, Lion Bear Fox release a full length album, which will doubtless bring their careers a step further. The Tønder Festival audience will surely love this scoop from Canada, and, as so often before, see that Tønder Festival is ahead of the game in presenting musicians on their way to the top.

Karl Blau (USA)
The title of his latest album Introducing Karl Blau is a bit misleading, since singer and songwriter Karl Blau has over 40 releases to his name. He comes from the north-west, halfway between the cultural hotspots of Seattle, USA, and Vancouver in Canada. As part of the Knw-Yr-Own/K Records collective, Karl Blau has worked his way through many styles of musical expression in his 20-year career, and they call him one of the heroes of the north-western indie scene. A trip through Karl Blau’s impressive back catalogue reveals a wide range, testifying to his intense curiosity for trends in music. On Introducing Karl Blau he has changed track again, and with top-notch producer Tucker Martine (of The Avett Brothers, The Decemberists and My Morning Jacket, among others) at the controls, we meet a tuneful country crooner interpreting great songwriters like Townes van Zandt, Waylon Jennings and Tom Rush. Tønder Festival is the only Danish festival in 2017 for Karl Blau and his band.

William Prince (CAN)
With his soft baritone, William Prince has taken the prairie by storm. Last year, his debut record was nominated in two categories at the West Canadian Music Awards, winning the award for Aboriginal Artist of the Year. William Prince is of the First Nation people who live on the Peguis reservation north of Winnipeg on the prairies of Manitoba. You’ll hear traces on William Prince’s latest single 7, a tribute to the students of Peguis. The number refers to the sacred teachings basic to aboriginal law: love, courage, humility, truthfulness, respect, discipline and honesty. William Prince’s debut, Earthly Days, produced by his friend and colleague Scott Nolan, and his single The Carny topped the National Aboriginal Music Countdown at radio station Sirius XM. Since then, William Prince has given many concerts and played at the famous Winnipeg Folk Festival. This summer, William Prince is making his first journey to Denmark, and his concert at Tønder Festival is his only appearance in Denmark in the summer of 2017.

Yola Carter (ENG)
In early February 2017, British singer and songwriter Yola Carter won the title of UK Artist of The Year at the UK Americana Awards 2017. This was well-deserved recognition for a singer whose solo career took off only recently, but who is no blank page. Her power soul vocals and musical talent have been put to good use with big names like Massive Attack, Katy Perry, Will Young and Bugz In The Attic. Country and soul music have always been her bag; a few years ago she teamed up with roots band Phantom Limb as their lead singer. After two album releases with them, Yola Carter opened a new chapter in her story, as a solo americana singer. Her EP Orphan Offering has won high critical praise, not least in USA. The Guardian wrote of Yola Carter: “Country and gospel with the same aggressive energy as good old-fashioned soul music.” This is Yola Carter’s first time in Denmark, and Tønder Festival is her only stop.

Leyla McCalla (USA)
Her music curls elegantly and with assured respect round the folk traditions of Louisiana and Haiti. Leyla McCalla was born in New York in 1985, of Haitian parents. Haitian culture and the fight for human rights loomed large in the home, and consciousness of her roots and cultural background became a natural element in Leyla McCalla’s musical universe. Leyla McCalla is a classically trained cellist and she plays banjo and guitar as well. Today she lives in New Orleans, and cajun and Louisiana culture in general have won their place with this versatile musician. She has recorded and toured with the Carolina Chocolate Drops (who played at Tønder Festival in 2013) and, in 2014, she released a solo album Vari-Coloured Song – a tribute to the Afro-american poet and activist Langston Hughes. In the spring of 2016, her second album appeared, A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey. For the first time solo in Denmark and her only Danish festival in 2017: Leyla McCalla.

Mick Flannery (IRL)
33 year-old Mick Flannery from Ireland was on the bill at Tønder Festival in 2016. This singer and songwriter has a lot to tell, and a voice of rare intensity and passion to tell it. Tønder Festival audiences can look forward to hearing him again, and enjoying some of the songs from his new album I Own You, from October 2016, into which he has inserted, in his own words, “50 per cent more social awareness.”  This comes to light in the words of his songs about modern digital life and Black Lives Matter. Mick Flannery’s songwriting career began when, on a trip round USA, he entered a song-writing competition in Nashville. He put out his first first album Evening Train in 2007, and has since established his reputation both in Ireland and internationally. Inspired by Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, Mick Flannery has made five albums and toured massively: hence his place at the top of the Irish music scene.

The 2017 Roster – so far:
Lucinda Williams (USA), Shovels & Rope (USA), Loudon Wainwright III (USA), Marc Cohn (USA), Daniel Norgren (S), Grant-Lee Phillips (USA), Lion Bear Fox (CAN), John Moreland (USA), Sara Watkins (USA), Allan Olsen (DK), A.J. Croce (USA), Altan (IRL), Tami Neilson (CAN/NZ), Kentaur (DK), Ìmar (SCO, IRL), Savage Rose (DK), Hush (DK), Afenginn  &  GLAS (DK, NO, FO, FI), Réalta (IRL), Nive Nielsen (GRL), Homesick Hank (DK), Dallahan (SCO/IRL), Romengo (HU), Talisk (SCO), Danni Nicholls (UK), Kaia Kater (CAN), Foy Vance (UK), Laura Mo (DK), Dorthe Gerlach (DK), Karl Blau (USA), William Prince (CAN), Yola Carter (ENG), Leyla McCalla (USA), Mick Flannery (IRL) AND MANY MORE!

Tønder Festival 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th August 2017

Twitter: @tonderfestival

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