THEY DON’T come from the Southern states of the USA, but when it comes to playing top quality bluegrass and American folk, London’s The Southern Tenant Folk Union are the real deal.
The Southern Tenant Folk Union play The Crane Bar, Sea Road, on Thursday October 2 at 9pm as part of a tour to promote their recently released second album Revivals, Rituals and Union Songs.
Formed by Belfast five-string banjo player Pat McGarvey, the band take their name from the ground breaking multi-racial union of sharecroppers and non-landowning tenant farmers founded in Arkansas in the 1930s.
Writing and performing their own unique brand of old-time, bluegrass, gospel and Celtic folk, the STFU appropriate themes from traditional folk songs and 20th century Americana music - such as those by The Carter Family, The Stanley Brothers, Dillard & Clark - to document and reflect modern life.
Pat McGarvey served his musical apprenticeship touring the world and recording a number of albums with UK/US Americana band The Coal Porters. In 2006, keen to find a more personal outlet for his writing, McGarvey gathered a collective of like minded musicians who share his love of traditional music, but each with his/her own individual take on such tradition.
Thus the STFU was born and includes Oliver Talkes (vocals, guitar ), Pete Gow (guitar ), Frances Vaux (fiddle ), Eamonn Flynn (mandolin ), and Matt Lloyd (upright bass ).
The band released its debut album of original material in 2007 to positive reviews and national radio play. Revivals, Rituals & Union Songs is a step forward for the STFU with its strong, confident tone, and darkly reflective songs.