After playing a final UK gig of the year at Forest Arts Centre (we had a lovely audience, including Charles Dickens’ great grandson who gave Charlotte a poem about a pair of pigeons) we set off for the not so lovely Clackett Lane services Days Inn (probably best avoided for those seeking to find their next holiday destination in this blog!).
What with all the storms a day or two before, we’d prepared ourselves for a rough crossing. However, the water was flat calm and we arrived in Dunkirk in what seemed like no time at all and were soon on the (right hand side of) the road to Brussels. We got to Hotel Le Beau Site (for fans of budget accommodation we would recommend this one – clean, friendly and a good breakfast!) around 7pm and set out to find some food. The hotel was far more central than we were expecting, given the price, and we were soon wandering around all the most beautiful parts of Brussels. We eventually found a small Italian restaurant and were drawn in by the large, affordable menu and blazing pizza oven by the window. It was packed, but they managed to squeeze us in and so we sat down to try to interpret the menu. After trying very hard not to fill up too much on all the various nibbles brought to us, our food arrived. John was particularly pleased with his Vegetariana pizza that appeared to have an entire allotment on top of it! We all had a great evening and if you ever find yourself in Brussels looking for tasty Italian food with a really friendly atmosphere, then look out for La Fringale.
The following day we had the chance to explore the city properly. On our previous visit we’d only had an hour, and John had never been before. As well as visiting all the usual sites (the Grand Place, the Mannekin Pis etc.) we decided to have a look at the Musical Instruments Museum. The museum itself is in the beautiful Art Nouveau ‘Old England’ building which is worth going to see in its own right. When we got to the front desk we were presented with an audio tour each. Instead of the usual talk, this one played sound samples of each of the instruments on display whenever the person holding it walked over a sensor on the floor. There were all kinds of things in there that we’d never heard of as well as some beautiful examples of more familiar instruments. Well worth a visit! Other highlights were the obligatory eating of frites with mayonnaise and waffles (not on the same plate).
Rue des Minimes
Kunstberg/Mont des Arts
Sunset during load in
That evening we were playing at the Brussels Folk Club. Phil and Lynda run a great club and, having been before, we were really looking forward to this one. The Porte Noire is a typical, well stocked cellar bar and is a lovely intimate place to play. It was the final gig of the year for the club and so all the floor spots had to be Christmas themed and the audience were given a delicious roast turkey dinner. Luckily we’d come prepared with a couple of Christmas songs ourselves!
We woke up early on the 9th due to some optimistic tour planning on Laura’s part. We were due to arrive in Munich, 743km away, by 6 o’clock that night ready to sound check at the Irish Folk Club, held in a former farmhouse in the centre of Munich. 9 or 10 hours later, having driven at around 95 miles an hour for as much of the way as we were allowed, we arrived only 10 minutes later than planned. Phew! We were all quite tired after the long drive but a delicious meal at the Stemmerhof restaurant downstairs perked us up just enough and we had another great night. Thanks to Frank and Alison for having us back a second time too – we love this gig!
The next day we had a night off but still a long drive down to Italy so unfortunately, despite having played in Munich twice now, we still haven’t really seen it. We’ll just have to go back!
John putting his ski gear to use on the terrifying German autobahns
Thanks to a last minute date change for our one Italian gig, we now had two nights in the same hotel in Bussolengo near Verona so were able to relax a little. After a lengthy check in made near impossible by our complete lack of common language with the lady on reception, followed by a quick fuss of the very old, very soppy resident Labrador, we went out to see what the town was like. Bussolengo is a lovely little town and was beautifully decorated up for Christmas with a market and an ice rink in the centre, but despite walking all around the town, we couldn’t seem to find an open restaurant anywhere so we set off to explore Verona and find food.
Verona is such a beautiful city and we had a lovely couple of hours wandering around looking at the Christmas lights before tea.
Piazza delle Erbe
The following morning we returned to Verona to see the sites in daylight. We were particularly pleased to find one of the stalls at the Christmas market playing Brad Paisley, and we all had a great time running around the amphitheatre and getting lost in the maze-like tunnels that go in and out of it.
The Adige River
After we’d finished pretending to be romans, we left Verona to catch the sunset at Bardolino on lake Garda before going to the venue for sound check.
That night we were playing at Club Il Giardino in Lugagnano di Sona. This was a venue that I had stumbled across through many google searches in an attempt to find anywhere vaguely suitable to play that would give us a chance to visit Italy, so we were interested to see what it would be like! We were pleased to find that it was a really great little music bar with gigs most nights and a really friendly audience. There was a brilliant lighting rig on the ceiling in the shape of a Stratocaster! Giamprimo was an excellent host and provided us and a large group of his friends and regulars with a wonderful home cooked meal and we were all made to feel very welcome. Despite our complete lack of Italian and the audience’s limited English, we had a lot of fun at our first ever Italian gig! Here we are signing the wall after the show:
Club Il Giardino
The following day, after a brief look around Sirmione on lake Garda, we set off for Switzerland. It was a long but beautiful drive through the mountains, and after many very long tunnels, the excitement of hearing Rhonda Vincent played on Swiss radio as well as some snow, we arrived at the Altes Spital in Solothurn. As the name suggests, the venue is an old hospital which had several events on that night. We were playing for ‘Acoustic Nights’ in a large cellar room and, having never played in Switzerland before, we were a little doubtful that we could fill it but the sound check went well so we were all happy. After sound check Chris and Eva, the organisers, took us upstairs to the ‘Spanish Club’ for some (predictably) Spanish food which was delicious. Charlotte was a particular fan of the mini tuna filled pasty things! By the time we’d finished eating, it was about time to go onstage and we were amazed to go into the room and find it packed! You can see pictures from that gig here.
We stayed that night at Hotel Bären, which seemed to be a very smart business-like hotel but with a gummy bear theme – brilliant! Bear shaped lights, bears on the doors, gummy bear shapes cut into the furniture and this on the bedside table:
Solothurn was our last gig for a few days, so to fill the time in between that and Cologne, we went to Austria for a skiing holiday! It was John’s first time, but by the end of the week he’d worked out the best way to keep up with Charlotte – continue to snow plough, but don’t bother turning!
After 5 sunny days on the piste, we were feeling refreshed and ready to continue with the tour. To break up the drive, we stopped overnight at Hotel Strauss in Würzburg. I always judge a hotel by it’s breakfast, and this was a GOOD hotel. Würzburg was very nice too! The next day we left for Cologne and got there with plenty of time to explore. We didn’t know much about it as a city, but it had a lot to look at and had 9 different Christmas markets going on with a road train to connect them all!
The Kölner Dom
Once we’d looked around the city, we got back into the car to find Kulturcafe Lichtung where we were playing that night. We found the venue, found parking about half an hour later and went in. We were introduced to a series of Michaels, sound checked, ate a toasted baguette and waited for an audience to turn up. A small but appreciative crowd appeared just before 9pm and so we began. It was yet again a fun gig to play and rounded off nicely what had been a great tour all round. Trying to explain ‘Lady Howard’ in German was a particular challenge. We stayed that night with one of the Michaels and left in the morning for the ferry. It was delayed by 3 hours but we managed to catch an earlier one so ended up being home an hour earlier than planned anyway – perfect!
We’d like to offer our thanks to Phil, Lynda, Alison, Frank, Giamprimo, Chris, Eva and Michael for giving us some great places play; Anne, Alison, Frank and Michael for very kindly putting us up in their houses; and of course to everyone who turned up to see us!
It’s finally time… nearly! Our new album, Over the Edge, comes out on Monday (7th) and to celebrate, we’re having a little party at Colston Hall in the Lantern (what was Hall 2) this Friday the 4th of October.
We’re really excited about this gig as, not only will there be cake amongst other nibbles, but we’ll have some special guests playing with us: John Breese will be joining us throughout the evening on double bass and Tom Sweeney and Josh Clark will play a couple of songs with us on electric guitar and percussion respectively. The first set will be a play through of the album with the second set being made up of some of our favourite songs by other artists. It would be wonderful if you could join us! Tickets are £10 plus booking fee available here with doors at 7.30pm.
Also, for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, we have a new video to promote the album. We hope you like it!
Over the Edge – The Carrivick Sisters
Release date: 7th October 2013
We will continue to add all new reviews to this post so check back for more!
From Pennyblack Music
The Carrivick Sisters: Over the Edge
(September 2, 2013)
It is rare that artists that stay firmly and so obviously within one genre actually appeal to those who wouldn’t necessarily appreciate music of the type that they produce. The Carrivick Sisters grew up in South Devon, and ‘Over the Edge’ is their fifth album to date, confirming that not only are the siblings one of the best bluegrass/folk acts around but that they have the ability to appeal to a much wider audience than just bluegrass devotees.
Much of this is due to their exceptional vocals. Charlotte and Laura both have that unique English pureness to their vocals. When they sing separately you sit spellbound by the purity in their voices, but when they blend their voices together that all too rare magic happens and the effect is quite breathtaking.
The sisters started performing together in 2006, originally busking that led them to proper gigs. In 2007, the year they left school and turned professional, the sisters won the South West Buskers and Street Entertainers Competition, which gained them their first gig at the Glastonbury Festival. Since then they have won more awards, released four albums and toured extensively. The sisters are currently touring the UK until the end of November, while December sees them playing some gigs across Europe.
Over the course of those four albums and their tours, the girls have honed their music which in some ways comes of age on this latest batch of songs. Playing the album never fails to get the attention of those around you that would normally give this bluegrass/folk hybrid a wide berth. It is not only those remarkable vocals; Charlotte plays mandolin and banjo as well as guitar while Laura adds fiddle and dobro to her guitar playing, and the full sound they produce is addictive alone, even shorn of those impeccable vocals.
There are two instrumentals on ‘Over the Edge’ both composed by Charlotte (All the songs on this album except for the traditional ‘Pretty Fair Damsel’ are originals). The first of these, ‘Making Horses’, is one of those pieces you simply can sit still to. The combination of Charlotte’s guitar and Laura’s fiddle is almost as absorbing as the sound of their voices together on the vocal tracks. The second instrumental, ‘Slap On Eleven’, started out as a clapping game at a festival, Charlotte completed the tune when she arrived home that evening and, as a neat touch, diagrams displaying how to join in with the game are included in the CD booklet. It’s an unusual and welcome addition to the booklet that, along with the album cover is beautifully illustrated; Charlotte, who found inspiration in a painting by Rex Whistler and adapted Whistler’s vision to fit the songs on ‘Over the Edge’, painted the cover image. Just another indication of the talents of the Carrivick Sisters.
‘Over the Edge’ (produced by Joe Rusby at Pure Records Studio which is further evidence that this is an album to be treasured) is one of those albums that is impossible to pick out favourites from. Each and every song from the banjo-led title track, where the tale of working men making a stand for the land they’ve worked suits the sister’s vocals perfectly through the more jaunty sing-alongs like ‘If You Asked Me’ to the sadness displayed in ‘The Moon’ (which are just the first three songs on the album) the girls touch all emotions. As each song unfolds, it feels like you are hearing these graceful, perfect vocals for the first time. A problem with some albums of this genre is that one song can easily merge into the next, and there is little to distinguish one song from another. The exact opposite is true of ‘Over the Edge’. The Carrivick Sisters are so proficient on their chosen instruments they never fail to impress. There really is something new coming through with every listen to the album. And then there’s those voices…
‘Over The Edge’ is a faultless album from two incredibly talented musicians. Five albums and numerous gigs down the road, and they still sound like they only discovered this music this very morning and can’t wait to share it with the world, as such is the enthusiasm that pours out of every song. ‘Over the Edge’ is one of the most addictive albums of the year so far.
Reviewer: Malcolm Carter
Pennyblack Music original post: http://www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk/MagSitePages/Review.aspx?id=9175
THE CARRIVICK SISTERS “OVER THE EDGE” 9/10
(September 2, 2013)
- Devonshire twins continue to dazzle
The young identical twin Carrivick Sisters are seemingly on a stratospheric rise through the roots music world, and justifiably so. Now five albums into their career which began the moment they left school. Charlotte and Laura may only have been performing for seven years, but their mantelpieces are already straining under the weight of numerous awards for their staggering playing ability, plus there’s a growing mass of fans gained from a number of performances at Glastonbury and also Radio 4.
The sister’s oeuvre is rooted in Bluegrass and country, but with a unique English twist. Stunningly exemplary musicians (Charlotte’s guitar work on the instrumental ‘Making Horses’ is divine, while Laura’s dexterous fiddle throughout is a joy). The twins share lead vocals and play all the instruments here (guitar, banjo, violin, mandolin and dobro) save for Bass, and the appearance of the occasional guest, and it’s their incredible, gorgeous close harmony that lends these songs such soul, purpose and gravitas.
The sound is sparse and soulful, with the sister’s elegant close harmony luxuriously placed throughout the acoustic, often old-timey backdrop. The key this time around though is that the songwriting craft has been ratcheted up yet another notch so that not only are they startlingly good interpreters of song, but their originals are intelligent, poetic, sensitive and deeply impressive, such as on Charlotte’s ‘Man in the Corner’, while her ‘I Know You’ is a swooningly beautiful country love ballad. Elsewhere trad English folk gets an airing on ‘Lady Howard’, ‘Pretty Fair Damsel’ and excellently poised protest of the opening title track..
Despite its moments of darkness and flashes of despair, ‘Over The Edge’ is a sonic pillow of utterly gorgeous, staggering playing, singing and writing. The Carrivick Sisters display their numerous and genuine talents in spades on this wonderful set, and their songwriting skills are maturing into something really very special. The world is now theirs.
Reviewer: Ian Fildes
AmericanaUK original post: http://www.americana-uk.com/cd-reviews/item/carrivick-sisters-over-the-edge
From AAA Music
THE CARRIVICK SISTERS - Over the Edge Self Released – 4/5
(September 1, 2013)
The Carrivick Sisters, bluegrass/folk duo release their fifth album, Over The Edge, in just over a month after touring for three months in the UK. It is an uplifting album of songs about life – all bar one composed by the twin sisters. Traveling, salamanders, people, love, history, music and dogs – it is bursting at the seams with tales of old and new and conjures up an image of an intricately woven tapestry or a patchwork quilt, full of colour and expression (a bit like the detailed album cover!). The purity with which the songs are played and sung makes for a very mature album. There is no sense of naivety or uncertainty – in fact it has so much direction it is hard to believe that Charlotte and Laura are indeed as young as they are!
Old-time banjo playing on ‘If You Asked Me’ with offbeat comping on guitar, crunchy vocal harmonies, and a vintage percussion section featuring a tea chest will get you dancing whilst the waltzing, lazy blues guitar and lucid, pretty vocal lines of ‘The Moon’ or ‘Bird’, with lilting double stopping and ornamented melodies on fiddle will send you off day dreaming.
The album has great contrast in it; from upbeat numbers such as ‘Making Horses’ to slower, pensive tracks like ‘Outside Time’. The two Carrivick women themselves are at once fun and charming and serious, deep thinkers; reflected in their compositions through subject matter and musical style. As musicians they are highly regarded – having won many awards and competitions between them such as South West Buskers and Street Entertainers Competition, Rocky Grass Fiddle Contest in America (Laura), first place in Old-time banjo and fiddle at FOAOTMAD’s festival in Gainsborough (Charlotte) and have appeared on BBC’s Woman’s Hour. Their musicianship makes this album exciting and zesty – with flawless technique on their respective instruments they are able to do what the music requires of them – fast, slow, lyrical, cheeky, thoughtful, and above all they are inventive! Drawing on traditional music styles – bluegrass and English folk, the duo have made an album reflective of our time, but with musical ideas centuries old.
Recorded and produced by Joe Rusby and with the odd extra musician thrown in for good measure ( John Breese on double bass throughout, Blair Dunlop, BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award winner appears on harmony vocals in ‘The Moon’ and ‘Bird’, Josh Clark on percussion in ‘If You Asked Me’ and Angus Lyon of Blazin’ Fiddles in ‘Salamander’), Over The Edge is a fun and exciting compilation of songs and tunes composed by two very talented young women!
★★★★Reviewer: Heather Ryall
AAA Music original post: http://www.aaamusic.co.uk/2013/09/01/the-carrivick-sisters-over-the-edge/
From Acoustic Magazine
THE CARRIVICK SISTERS - Over the Edge
(Issue no. 83)
Reviewer: Julian Piper
Acoustic Magazine: http://www.acousticmagazine.com/
GENTLE STROLLING WITH MICK & KEEF N JONI
CARRIVICK SISTERS “OVER THE EDGE”
RELEASED? 7th October.
SOUNDS LIKE? Strangely familiar. Folk, country, pop, bluegrass and plain old oral story telling have always and continue to influence, infect and inform the wider world called ‘Music’.So, just by being an appalling smart arse with some Steeleye Span, Broken Family Band and Jethro Tull records I can tell you that ‘’Over The Edge’’ has nothing to frighten you away, nothing much to furrow your brow and plenty to please. So, ‘’Over The Edge ‘’ sounds like an act that’s technically excellent, comfortable rolling around and over it’s chosen genres and, despite choosing country, folk, etc, ends up feeling like Joni Mitchell fronting the material that Mick n Keef would have passed for ‘’Sticky Fingers’’.
IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes, of course. technically tight, convincingly sincere and you wouldn’t throw a strop to have it removed from a playlist, but… I do kind of have all of this already?
WHERE IS IT? www.thecarrivicksisters.com
Unpeeled.net original post: http://www.unpeeled.net/albums.html
From Three Chords and the Truth UK
The Carrivick Sisters - Over the Edge Self Released
(August 15, 2013)
Although the Carrivick Sisters are regularly active on the live circuit, their planned shows will no doubt feature this October 7th release up to the end of that month and no doubt beyond OVER THE EDGE has the quality to reach out to a wide audience and highlight why the Carrivick Sisters are great ambassadors for roots music originating from both sides of the Atlantic.
Three Chords and the Truth UK original post: http://threechordsandthetruthuk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-carrivick-sisters-over-edge-self.html?m=1
‘Over the Edge’ – new album from the Carrivick Sisters
(July 25, 2013)
One of the perks of this job is you get to hear good music ahead of everyone else. Then you can spend however long before the release date telling anyone that will listen just how good it is.‘Over the Edge’ the new album from the Carrivick Sisters, released on 7th October 2013, offers you nine originals and one traditional song plus two original instrumentals … and I’m going to spend the next few months telling anyone that will listen just how good it really is.
First, you tune in to the absolute symbiosis between their voices, not totally surprising as they are siblings. Next you hear their flawless skills with their chosen instruments – Charlotte: guitar, mandolin, banjo and Laura: fiddle, Dobro, guitar. And finally, you’re carried away on the subtle interweaving of influences from folk and bluegrass to create a sound that is lush, graceful and elegant.
There are outstanding songs on ‘Over the Edge’ – some tell tales, some set scenes, each one a measured musical portrait. The title track delivers a hard message through a spritely melody. The softly poignant ‘I Know You’ comes complete with an eloquent guitar. There’s so much to enjoy on this album but I have to confess I immediately fell under the spell of ‘Man in the Corner’ - a sensitive song that conveys tangible sadness through its meditative melody, and ‘Old Friend’ - filled with the simple empathy that exists between true companions.
Also playing on ‘Over the Edge’ are John Breese (double bass) Josh Clark (percussion) Blair Dunlop (harmony vocals on ‘Bird’) Angus Lyon (piano on‘Outside Time/Salamander’) and Tom Sweeney (electric guitar ‘I Know You’).
Reviewer: Dan Holland
FolkWords original post: http://www.folkwords.com/latestreviews_87348.html
Hello everyone and welcome to our new look website which Charlotte has made for us! It’s fairly similar to the old one aside from our attempt to be a little more up to date hence the twitter feed and recent article column. Hopefully everything should work as before, but please let us know if there’s a problem with anything.
We just got back from our fifth Glastonbury which was excellent as usual! Our particular highlights (apart from our lovely audiences!) were Kenny Rogers, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, First Aid Kit, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, The Zac Brown Band, the £4 toastie van, the Dorset Blue Vinny van, Ryan from The Great British Bake-off‘s pizzas and of course the Rolling Stones. If you get the chance, have a watch of those you can on BBC iPlayer, and those you can’t, see if you can catch them live! Thanks to Tom Sweeney for this photo of us playing on the Cabaret Stage on Friday.
The new album is currently at the printers and we’ve just been told that it will arrive here on Tuesday 9th. The official release date for website sales and digital downloads is the 7th of October. We will have copies at some of our gigs before then and you can also pre-order your physical copy from the website now. We’re really proud of this album and firmly believe it’s our best yet. As with ‘From the Fields’, we went up to record with producer Joe Rusby and he has done a brilliant job again. ‘Over the Edge’ features 9 original songs, 1 traditional song and 2 original instrumentals. Between us we cover the acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, dobro and vocal parts with John Breese has laid down some rock solid double bass parts throughout, Josh Clark set up a special drum kit which included a tea chest and a cushion then played the perfect percussion part on track two, Blair Dunlop sings some lovely harmonies, Angus Lyon contributes some beautiful piano and Tom Sweeney plays a great electric guitar solo with more bends than we thought possible!
The sun’s finally started to make a fairly regular appearance, so we suppose that must mean that Spring’s arrived and Summer will soon follow! We’ve had a lovely run of gigs lately including a really fun tour with Blair Dunlop. Blair came up to Pure Records Studio to record some harmonies on a song which we’d been doing together on that tour. It sounded so good we got him to do some more on another track! All our parts for the album our recorded now and we’re really looking forward hearing the results. We’re busy working on the cover art at the moment and are aiming for a late September release. More recently we’ve had some really lovely gigs in Suffolk, Norfolk, Devon, Somerset and Cornwall. England’s looking very pretty at the moment and we had a lovely morning after the gig in Blakeney walking bare foot out over the mud to look at some seals. Here’s Laura showing them in the distance:
With the Summer comes the festival season. Our favourite part of our job is playing at festivals so we can’t wait to get our tents out and see some of you there.This year we’ve already done a few including Dartmouth last weekend. Coming up are Wimborne Minster Folk Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Maverick Festival, Larmer Tree, Malmesbury Carnival, Burton Bradstock Festival, Purbeck Folk Festival, Foxstock, The Big Green Cardigan and Southport Americana Festival.
Since January is now well underway and ‘Merry Christmas’ no longer seems appropriate, we thought it was about time we updated our website with some news. So far this year, we have been busy getting started on a new album. As with ‘From the Fields’, we have enlisted the help of Joe Rusby to engineer and produce the album. We’re still thinking up a name for it, but we can tell you it will take the form of 12 tracks (9 original songs, 1 traditional song, and 2 original instrumentals) and features John Breese on double bass throughout. All our instrumental parts are recorded now and we’ll be going back into the studio at some point to do the vocals. We’ve been busy trying to understand Twitter a bit better and posted regular updates on there while we were recording using the hashtag #CarrivickSistersAlbum5. Our username is @Carrivicks if you want to follow us.
Aside from recording, we’re very excited to be updating our selection of promo photos soon and are really forward to a photoshoot with Jessica Augarde next month.
Just a quick note to say thank you to everyone who’s supported us throughout the year by coming to gigs, booking us for gigs, following us on facebook, twitter and youtube and buying CDs. We’ve had a great year and hope that you have too. Here’s this year’s Christmas video by way of a thank you. We thought this cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ was particularly appropriate to play on Charlotte’s new Bryn Munford tenor guitar, which is made mostly from woods that have either been in a river or a bog for years! Have a fantastic Christmas and new year and we’ll see you in the next one, or at the Cecil Sharp House gig for the Musicians Benevolent Fund on the 18th!