Young Brits Climbing the Ladder: Blair Dunlop and Ward Thomas
Ah, sweet youth. Time for an update on Blair Dunlop and Ward Thomas, two young British music talents that I have mentioned before on these pages and who are worth keeping an eye on.
Dunlop turned 22 in February. He is a folk-country singer with an impressive musical pedigree (his dad is British folk icon Ashley Hutchings) and who, I have just learned played the young Willie Wonka in Tim Burton’s 2005 “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.
After a debut album in 2012 and an EP with Larkin Poe, Dunlop is back on May 26 with a new CD – “House of Jacks”. His style is not exactly unique, but nor is it common place. It mixes English folk with U.S. country and heartfelt indie. It s really quick addictive.
The new album seems more sophisticated than the debut “Blight & Blossom”, both musically and lyrically. There is a fair deal of Angst, which gives it a nice edge. The video below is a good example. It is of the first track, “Something’s Gonna Give”, about a young boy so bullied at school it all goes badly. Interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly, this theme is a very modern take on old English folk (and U.S. country) in which disaster befalls someone who doesn’t deserve it.
Now to Ward Thomas, who make Dunlop seem positively aged. Unless they have just had a birthday, they are 19-year old twins Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas from the rather posh and very English county of Hampshire.
The two, who recently got rave reviews from one of Britain’s better-known radio DJs, are pure county – only, as they like to say, “a different one”. So I wish I could be around to see the reaction in Nashville in May when the play in the heartland. I am sue they will knock a few socks off. They play Tootsies on May 1 and Belcourt Taps on May 5 as part of a Tennessee tour.
Here they are (not sounding very Hampshire). Get ready Nashville.