Biography for @folkandlorepod

— Finvoy; If you were to blink to whilst driving through it, you’d perhaps miss it altogether.

Set in off the beaten track amongst white thorn quick’s and blackthorn sloes; 

this tiny and abstruse little Hamlet plays host to a gathering of local natives on a three-acre plot, called ‘Origin’ 

For if you were to dander down rural Dirraw road on any given Saturday from early Spring to late Autumn; you might be surprised with what you’d find on these quiet country lanes.

The sound of laughter from behind hedgerows and the faint patter of unfeigned conversations in amongst furrows and drills; as harvesters stoop low to unearth an abundance of aged produce grown for human consumption.

Polytunnels and long-tailed shovels, hipsters sipping caffeine around timber topped tables. A thriving coffee house open to the public, with an elegant espresso machine polished to within an inch of its life. Music bellowing out of high corners and the eaves of what we once an old piggery.

This place oozes invitation and offers a very different experience from that of the concrete pit stops most of us coffee enthusiasts frequent in urbanised areas.

You’ll find wide-eyed wanna be horticulturalists tying bouquets; would-be brides plucking perfectly timed flower bombs out of the meadows; readying for the reciting of vows; flowers that they’d indeed sowed themselves, just weeks before.

This place offers something different.

Volunteers and patrons from all across the counties working in vegetable plots and fruit houses, sowing and reaping the spoils of their long summers graft, whilst snacking on their trophies as they go.

‘Origin is a community farm and acreage just outside Ballymoney.

A collective of habitual gardening practitioners well versed in more traditional forms of crop production, implementing practices that have been long absent from these baronies.

As from beneath the comforting gaze of secluded sycamore and bright Irish Ash; dark earth is turned upside down in the pursuit of happiness.

It is here that Kenny Baird and his wife Victoria have transformed this once congregated chicken farm into a land-loving community space and creative horticultural hub.

Their ethos is field to fork living, growing to eat, eating to grow, cultivating awareness in the midst of crop rotation and warm communal suppers.

The site sits in the townland of ‘Knockans’.

But there is a beautiful fortuity about this location and a serendipity that swells the nostalgic heart.

There are two ancient burial grounds close bye; one of which lays only yards away in a neighbouring field.

And it’s suggested that this area was once a Monastic site, in the neighbouring townland of ‘Vow’.

The question is; is the symmetry of this happenstance in terms of ethos and practice nothing more than a coincidence, or a magnificently woven tale and the re-digging of an ancient well.

For perhaps this is not the first time a community with earnest endeavour has tilled this land in the practicing of presence.

And maybe, just maybe, the ground calls to us still, to those of us who will listen and respond to her tender voice, maybe the earth holds onto the memories of our kind and forgets not the movements of those that have gone before, easily recalling that which slips away all too quietly from our own thoughts.

Maybe the soils echo still with an ancient allure to draw us back to our roots and it is she — our mother — who has our best interests at heart; 

if only we would dare to listen and to converse with her in that soft tongue.

In this episode Kenny talks to me about slowing down, his plans for the future and how community farming has transformed his life.

Myles McCormack (Real Talk) Album Review

Biography for @folkandlorepod

Myles McCormack is a musician and songwriter from Belfast. 

A tender soul in a concrete crannagh; (or woodland) this protagonist sits firmly in the bedrock of the idiomatic sound-oriented infrastructure; a Bootstrap Bill Turner type character amalgamated into the woodwork of traditional music here, north of the wall.

A chaser of rhythms and a runner of reels; McCormack plays weekly amongst fellow sessions hairs around sailor town and neighbouring boroughs; playing for pints and cavorting in the age-old tradition of nurturing the next generation of music makers. 

On September 13th he will launch his debut album ‘Real Talk’ from the branches of its third story Ormeau Avery; to traverse the waves of streaming services in a mass migration of Irish cultural heritage.

Some of these songs have been ruminating for up to as many as ten years, meticulously crafted on the anvils of aspiration and resolve.

This is the final step, yet the first as a solo artist.

McCormack is a founding member of ‘Lonesome George’ a touring indie/trad hybrid made up of some of his closest adroit and indigenous friends. He was busy packing for Germany when we did this interview; getting his gear ready to manoeuvre his way across Europe with fellow creative cats prowling on their beat.

The album – we’ll it is stunning, it has a billowing sincerity that unarmed and untethered me; it’s organic, kiln-fired, it’s a time-travelling billboard of wanderlust and defiance. An eco-warrior in a world of synthetic attire.

It reminded me of just how much time I have spent accidentally listening to music; in cafes, bars and diesel cars, unconsciously programming my intellect to what is deemed as the norm at the expense of an eager heart.

For music is felt, not only is it heard.

So let the music of the folk again have her way with us, call us back to harmony and tone, to skin and bone and entwine with our memories and stories and tell our nomadic tales to our children.

Myles is an old soul, he greets tradition with a warm embrace and like those of us on this rock who have become accustomed to the suddenness of being taken upon by verse; he carries within his work that effervescent tenure to unravel mysteries & turmoil from both land and sea; to give voice to the aurora of colour that leaks into the veins of those who calls into deep.

This is not a collection porcelain songs, they have their rough edges and their grit and their defiance, they are so beautifully oblivious to anything else being made here right now on main street and this alone fills me with hope, hope that there are great treasures yet buried in these old hills, untamed, untouched and untapped.

And whether there be gold in our mountains or gas in our caverns, let it alone.

For our treasures are those which fill the eyes the ears, not the hands and the pockets.

Treasures that only those who have learned to become one with the land can truly earn.

Jonny Farmer

Biography for @folk&lorepod

Jonny Farmer is a Shepherd and Farm manager from County Antrim, Northern Ireland. 

Somewhat of a wayward sheep himself amongst the natives, this farmer, both by name and nature strays far from traditional flock care narratives; implementing his own unique approach to next-generation shepherding, on Glenbush Farm. 

His pioneering methodology incorporates the use of groundbreaking science and genetic intentionality; as ethical practice becomes more and more the motivation crux of this earthen vocation in which he so passionately adheres to.

His holistic approach to animal husbandry is relatively new to Ireland, a systematic influence of time spent amongst Kiwi farmers in the New Zealand Valleys back in the early two-thousands.

Throughout this interview one could be forgiven for mistaking the role of the farmer for that of the mystic; as he speaks to generations of European farmers from the aether of increased land sensitivity and the vast genetically unknown. A call to deepen and to rekindle the forgotten art of listening to the land, as opposed to that of constantly dictating to it in the continuation of reactive and habitual farming. 

He calls upon his peers to join him in an ancient conversation with humanities, most precious resource, campaigning for sincere cultural change in attitudes towards land management.

As a former NSA (National Sheep Society) ambassador, vice chairman and now trustee there a few on this island who understand the sensitivities of sheep craft better than he.

It’s a Saturday morning at the tail end of April and the weather by now should be turning consistently for the better; but this is Ireland, that ireful green rock on the far left-hand side of Europe, there’s not a tree between here and the Americas.

Kevin Young (Painted Sun)

Album Review.

— Kevin young — painted son (sun)

His debut release, but to be honest it’s like listening to a finely weathered folk musicians weekend project, recorded on a run of Sundays in a chic ass studio in the Oregon mountains.

It’s a masterclass of execution and production and the maturity of both parties leaks out of every corner of this four-track wedge. The weird-ass lo-fi feel, the double vocals, the position and the variety of percussion in the mix, the ease in Young’s delivery is a deliverance you never knew you needed. It’s old-fashioned, it’s fresh, it’s a country bound, folk contradiction, and it works.

These are solid, honest songs, they’ve been chewed up over many hard winters and regurgitated for a mature listeners ears. There’s so much going on, yet at times nothing at all, without distraction like it’s just one man and his axe.

Kevin’s story as a songwriter is an education in the following of dreams. He barely played the guitar when I first met him in 2011, but he’s a melodic grandfather in his musical taste, especially to those know him and have played in his beautiful little cafe over the years.

His love within that fold for local music and its practitioners is unmatched when it comes to hosting a band; his evangelical super clubs in a rural village in County Down (often to less than 30 people) were some of the fondest shows I ever had the pleasure to play.

Young knows what he’s doing and he’s doing what he knows, he’s hard-working, honest and kind and he has the talent, the songs and the passion I believe, to carry him as far he wishes to go. A man in the second half of life, with nothing to prove, nowhere to run and a good time his only ambition. I honestly believe if he gave it up tomorrow he would have already exceeded his own humble expectations.

But the man’s a talent, and his expectations were too low, to begin with.

Jude Moses

Biography for @folk&lorepod

Stephen George William also known as ‘Jude Moses’ is a Musician, Songwriter and Producer from Charlotte North Carolina.

With the bulk of his time spent on the road as a session musician, Stephen talks to me about navigating life whilst on tour and  how he curates space within a packed and often crowded schedule to implement rest and quieten his inner radio.

This southern subatomic multi instrumentalist was raised in the stoic simplicity of a Toombs County Onion-town; his sound crafted amongst Georgia Pine and Dusty Pale Horses.

I first met Williams back in 2009 whilst living in Fort Mill, North Carolina and in 2011 he moved to Northern Ireland on a songwriting expedition and to flesh out our collaborative musical project ‘Sons of Caliber’.

His connection however to this Island has been strong throughout his life, with friends from the province often frequenting his family home and town growing up; his understanding of Northern Irish culture and its people is by now fairly accumulative and his effortless adaptation of our tone, accent and humour rolls from his tongue like he went to a school somewhere in and around South Derry.

With a decade of friendship between us; he and I have been intermittently collaborating together for the last ten years to varying degrees, breaching our Oceanic Atlantic Divide to trade secrets, working on each others creative projects and weaving together stories and sound in an exchange of melodic cultural currency.

Williams’, is a walking symphony, he does everything with a harmony attached to it, from fixing breakfast to laying down, he is an sonic installation. He is an instrument.

His debut album ‘We Won’t Die’ is a full length American folk, rock hybrid.

Incorporating a ream of proficient Charlotte talent within its musical corridors. And reading between the lines I sense a new collection of songs immanent.

The Georgians vocal range is immense and although a few years my junior his creative influence on me as a songwriter and singer has been both immeasurable and incomparable.

Ghost Apples

Pic: Andrew Sietsema

In the heart of Ulster

Amongst the wren

Augments a tree

In Reubens Glen

That fashions fruit

Not ripe for men

A malus wrought of cold

For it’s considered that in

The nines of years

It’s apples crab to ice and tears

To mourn the wolf

They called Ailithir

Who’s buried at its feet


Where does essence fit

Where is its place in amongst the realms of men

And where at the table is it seated

If even it is offered a chair at all

As around tables where once we would break bread

Now we barely break breath

From either side of a splintered river

That gulf between the them and the us

An empty alphabet

The hollow hoard

Of a monotone spectrum

Now used to collate the aggregate of educated tribalism

To inflict a wound

And build a wall

Where they can’t get in, but we can’t get out either

Arrows forged on the anvil of the heart

As the hammer of intent strikes its blow

On overheated terms of exchange

And breath is fractured and cracked in two

To let words cram and backfill the space between

And occupy the ether

As they become flesh in the form of you

Born into this world by vibration

From chords at the back of the throat

Polished on tongues of colloquialism and the verbal influences of infancy

Where does essence fit

Maybe just amongst the swings and the roundaboutery

Perhaps only in conversations with my grandmother

Or someone else from an earlier time

Who’s known me all of my life