Julie’s album Blackbird wins more stunning reviews

Get Blackbird from Bandcamp here: https://gavinatkin.bandcamp.com/album/blackbird

Veteran South Wales singer, musician and Folk Wales editor Mick Tems penned a review that almost rendered Gav speechless:

‘Julie Atkin lives with her musician husband Gavin in the village of Marden, Kent; both she and Gavin have amassed 15 well-known and less well-travelled traditional songs, and the album is a welcome treasure trove and reference point for any eager enthusiasts who have embarked on the magical journey of folk discovery. Julie trained as a classical singer, and her bright and clear soprano voice sparks and energises ancient and venerable songs; like a curator restoring an old portrait, she polishes off the dust and grime and gives the melodies a new, proud shine. Gavin accompanies her on acoustic guitar and diatonic accordeon, and his minimal empathetic playing is just enough to let her songs grow and blossom. In short, it’s exquisite.’

Regular CD reviewer David Kidman wrote:

‘This is an album of traditional songs…performed purely and simply by Kent-based singer Julie Atkin. Julie’s husband… provides some wonderfully complementary, beautifully contoured accompaniment on guitar (eight tracks) or deft and sprightly melodeon (two tracks). His guitar playing is accomplished and stylishly configured, and its measured precision perfectly matches that quality in Julie’s singing… the Atkins’ musical partnership makes for some delightfully simpatico music-making… Julie lacks nothing in her understanding of her chosen songs, and she clearly feels their emotional import, this being clearly evident in her stylish expression.’

Around Kent Folk’s own Bob Kenward added: ‘Now this is a truly beautiful collection of traditional song. Julie’s delightful voice is discretely accompanied on guitar or melodeon where called for by Gavin Atkin and every arrangement augments and supports both melody and story… seek out this CD and give your ears a treat’

The album is out!

The Julie and Gavin Atkin album Sentimental Journey is officially out and is available to order from the record label Red Admiral, and as downloads on Amazon and iTunes.

Here’s what the record label blurb says:

‘A 19-track album stuffed full of well-known songs from a bygone age and which you have been hearing all your life – maybe initially on your mothers knee.

‘Julie’s soulful voice is accompanied by Gavin on his Jeffries duet concertina, and melodeon.

‘Recorded in a natural environment they are virtually in the room with you, performing the often nostalgic combination of Tin Pan Alley songs and music from the twenties and thirties.’

And it’s just in time for Christmas! See the Red Admiral website.

Julie sings Summertime

It was only a matter of time before Julie would add this classic lullaby by George and Ira Gershwin classic to her repertoire – and here it is. It’s great to have her singing more again.

Arranging it was quite a challenge for a two-row melodeon, but I like the way my old C/F Koch box’s mellow tones sit alongside Julie’s silvery voice.

Julie sings with Gav’s melodeon

Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron and Nobody Knows You when You’re Down and Out are a couple of songs we’ve been singing in the sessions and folk clubs lately – so we thought it was time to share them.

Dashing is a bit of a departure for Julie, who usually leaves traditional songs to others (but may sing a few more now). I gather from our pal Barbara Brown that it was collected at Minehead by Cecil Sharp – and that he got it from a Captain Lewis. That makes a nice connection, so thanks Barbara!

Nobody Knows You is a prohibition era song about how life can go all wrong for the black market booze dealer. Well, if he or she don’t like their friends, perhaps that’s something to do with the sort of people they hang out with…


Julie sings Que Sera Sera

We thought it would be fun to try an experiment – accompanying Julie’s singing using the melodeon. We imagined it would make a nice change and this is the result!

The song was originally composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and a very nice, deceptively simple piece of work it is.

Gav sings Frankie and Johnny

Frankie drew back her kimono, pulled and old 44
Then it’s rooty-toot-toot through that bar-room door…

I guess this is what you get when a guitarist of four decades takes up the melodeon – a crazy old American song, with a bit of triplet-blues feel creeping in!

One of the important things I’ve found about being a multi-instrumentalist is that all the instruments inform each other. I’m already beginning to find out how playing the melodeon is influencing my fiddle playing, for example.