Tag Archives: folkstock records

97. KELLY OLIVER “Bedlam” (Folkstock Records, 2016)

Bedlam (Pic: Kelly Oliver)

Bedlam (Pic: Kelly Oliver)

Recently I was contacted by Helen Meissner of Folkstock Arts Foundation, who wondered if I would like to review Kelly Oliver‘s latest album (her second), Bedlam; which was released back in March. Of course, I was keen to do so; and so she sent me a promo copy CD; along with some fact-sheets.

I first became aware of Kelly and her music a few months ago, when Daria Kulesh suggested that I go on line and see a gig that both ladies were to play at The Convent, Gloucestershire. Although I experienced a few problems with the streaming, I was nevertheless very impressed by Kelly’s songs.

Bedlam is a ten-track album of original works –  either written solely by Kelly; or co-written with others. It has already received some great reviews, to which I can add little except to say that it certainly is a remarkable album. Kelly has crafted a fine collection of well thought-out songs with inspired lyrics, that tend to grab your attention from the start. She has interesting things to say; and I found that I wanted to hear them. I personally had this playing in my car on repeat for a few days – that’s a good sign! The songs feel traditional, yet fresh and original at the same time. There is good use of alternative guitar tunings which I like because it adds a uniqueness (and sometimes a quirkiness) to the overall sound of the songs. Her voice – and the accent with which she sings – is a pleasure to hear; and entirely suits her music.

I’ve found it almost impossible to pick a few favourites from this collection because each song is equally fantastic. But if I’m pushed I’d say the title track; plus ‘Miles To Tralee’ and the Folk-Rock finishing number ‘Rio’ (which reminds me a little of Kirsty MacColl). Its a good’n to end the album on – and no doubt would be a rousing finale to a live show too. But all the songs are very good indeed.

The CD that I received was a promo copy, so I cannot unfortunately comment on the sleeve / case that it would normally be sold in. It is also apparently available in 12″ vinyl, I’m glad to say. Samples of the songs may be heard via the Folkstock Records website. Recommended. PTMQ

35. DARIA KULESH “ETERNAL CHILD” (Folkstock Records, 2014)

DARIA KULESH: 'Eternal Child' (Photo PTMQ)

DARIA KULESH: ‘Eternal Child’ (Photo PTMQ)

Recently I was unexpectedly contacted by singer-songwriter DARIA KULESH (a friend of ANGE HARDY – see my review on this blog #32), who sent me a link to the FOLKSTOCK RECORDS website which contains songs from her new album Eternal Child; and she wondered if I’d be interested in writing a review. After a quick listen, I certainly was.

The album is a collection of ten songs, all penned by Daria herself; and all based on her life experiences. They are therefore very personal in content – and unique in concept.  Each is lyrically very strong and interesting too. This is all the more remarkable considering that Daria’s first language is Russian; yet her English vocabulary is excellent, and this is manifest in the well penned song lyrics. My personal favourite among this collection, is the haunting ‘Letting Go’; yet all of them are excellent.

She sings them beautifully, too;  her voice, a joy to hear. Her vocal style reminds me – to some extent – of several folk singer-songwriters of the 60s. Although I’m not an expert on this genre, I do hear a little of Baez; Collins; Felix; and Sonja Kristina in there. She has also been compared to Peggy Seeger and Kate Rusby by other writers.  Yet at all times she has her own style that is unique and remarkable; and this is due to her eclectic influences – tangible in both her vocals and her song-writing.

Various musicians have been recruited as necessary by Daria for the project. These are BEN WALKER (Multi-instrumentalist); LAUREN DEAKIN-DAVIES (Guitar & Keys); LUKE JACKSON (Vocals & Guitar); KATE ROUSE (Hammered Dulcimer); and KAITY RAE (Cello). And I must say, they have all done a fine job for her too.

The cover is of the card gate-fold album type – which I prefer. One side contains a leaflet, safely tucked away, with printed lyrics and credits etc.  From this leaflet we learn that each song is personally dedicated to someone in Daria’s life – a lovely touch.  I highly recommend this album if you have a penchant for unique folk songs; thoughtful lyrics; and beautiful female vocal.

Daria is also a member of the folk group KARA; which she described to me as ‘…a quirky band with Russian influences’. She sent me a copy of their debut album Waters So Deep, which is also remarkably good. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to do a full review on this; but I do however recommend it highly as well. If you like Daria’s solo album, then you’ll like this too.

Here is a link to the Folkstock website:


Here is a link to Daria’s website:   http://www.daria-kulesh.co.uk/