After stealing the show at St Bonaventures last year with Charlie Parr, Frank Fairfield now hits The Cube, topping the bill on a night of street-singing new school troubadours for early summer also featuring the intoxicating street band spirit of Tim Hill as World Unknown, and the redoubtable rustic charm of My Two Toms.
Frank is “the sort of person who makes you glad to be alive” (The Guardian)… a man who lives and breathes it, rarely separated from his guitar and fiddle, and in possession of a seemingly limitless repertoire of songs, a fine crop of which are evidenced on his new album for Tompkins Square.
Frank sings soaring hillbilly stompers, arcane rambling songs and murder ballads, delivered in a reedy tenor backed by his dextrous and ragged fiddle, guitar and banjo arrangements. When he’s not playing he’s digging for rare 78s in thrift stores and junk shops. Still in his early twenties but steeped in the pre-War Americana of Mississippi John Hurt and Dock Boggs, he cut his teeth as a street performer in LA and has the raw intensity, passion and technique to make your hairs stand on end.
World Unknown is an incredible musical mix of old world and new by Tim Hill (Tongues of Fire), one of the finest street band leaders in the country . The show is inspired by the lovely old funeral hymn ‘Egypt’: “And must my trembling spirit fly into a world unknown”. The show finds Tim playing saxophones, vamping horns, voice, electronics and toy instruments in a journey into that unknown region where folk music, free jazz and beauty/noise meet. Tim combines playing in the Mellstock band recreating the music of rural England, as seen in TV productions like ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, with running the street band Tongues of Fire and playing with free jazzers like Steve Noble, Alex Ward and John Edwards.
My Two Toms start things off, plying their wordless post-Takoma micro-glories for guitar, banjo and ukelele that sound all the sweeter in summer’s haze.
Plus Shellac Sound DJs dropping dusty gramophone 78s in the bar.