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ALBUM REVIEW: JAY WARS AND THE HOWARD YOUTH- ‘Love In The Time Of Fear’ (2016)

simple acoustic music. passion, anger, heart and a sense of humour and absolutely nothing at all like James Blunt

Jay Wars

Love In The Time of Fear is the second release from Jay Wars And The Howard Youth. Jay was the lead singer of the sadly missed Australian celtic-punk band Between The Wars who split up in 2012 after a string of highly rated albums and singles. Among the things that stood out the most from their various recordings was Jay’s lyrical output so it was with relief that we heard he was going to carry on and keep recording. Last years first album Carry Me Home was pretty much Jay recording a solo version of a Between The Wars album but with guest appearances from half his old band giving the album that unmistakeable BTW sound. On Love In The Time of Fear Jay has expanded on that sound somewhat and though the album is much less celtic-punk it still has that BTW thing about it. The music may be less celtic and more punky but its still an absolute knockout and more than deserving of being our very first review of 2016.

Jay WarsThe album begins with ‘Pyne In The Closet’ and Jays chugging guitar and Hayley’s amazing fiddle work along with a more than solid backline with Dan on drums and Crow on bass give it a real foot tapping feel right from the off. The BTW sound is there but now mixed up and blended with the English punk sound of bands like the Newtown Neurotics. Jay wears his politics on his chest and its working class struggle that interests him. Not the pampered politics of the middle class left but the blood and guts of life at the bottom of the ladder. ‘Don’t Cross The Line’ is the eleventh commitment of the international working classes. The line in question being the picket line and a very special contempt is reserved for those that strike break and cross picket lines stabbing their fellow workers in the backs. In the words of this ancient Irish saying (curse!)

“May the lamb of God stir his hoof through the roof of heaven and kick you in the arse down to hell”

The song features special guest vocals from Ronan MacManus the lead singer of the London Irish celtic rockers The Bible Code Sundays. Fast and furious and fecking angry and quite rightly so. One to play before you leave the house to right a wrong I’d say… Another of the album’s highlights is the next track ‘A Girl Called Hope’ with Jays words like poetry to this ear, easily understood and crystal clear. The track has a kind of a frantic country feel to it with great wailing backing vocals and the story is classic Jay with a tale of love gone murderously wrong.

By now you can get a feel for where this album is going and ‘Done And Dusted’ continues in much the same vein with a catchy tune and more of Jay’s unmistakable lyrics. It really is worth getting the headphones on to catch it all. ‘Alive!’ brings out the banjo and is a simply effective punk song again with Hayley’s fiddle giving it that bit extra. ‘Let Me Start Again’ is the fastest song on the album though still keeping it acoustic. ‘The Ballad Of 1846’ is a story of a young Irishman arriving in Melbourne in 1846 and finding the promised land contained the same prejudice that he had left behind in Ireland. This prejudice is that of the Orange kind. The extreme Protestant anti-Catholic and anti-Irish bigotry that the British transported across the globe in order to keep the Irish down. Fascism under any other name the Orange bigots (named after the colours of a bisexual Dutch king who defeated the British king James II in 1690… yeah go figure!!) still strut their stuff around the north of Ireland as well as Scotland and a few dwindling places left in England. Around July 12 every year they demand the right to pass triumphantly through Catholic areas and every they are quite rightly resisted “by any means possible”.

“when I see you wave that Orange flag I see red instead”

The following song ‘Abraham Brown’ was a collaboration between Jay and Kevin Prested, an Englishman now based in Melbourne and is the tale of a young man transported to Australia back in the 1830’s. Social history told through the eyes of Jay who is a real master of songs like these. Beautiful and evocative you close your eyes and the image of Abraham’s voyage fills your mind. ‘Play Another Song’ keeps it upbeat and ‘One Last Love Song’ brings the album to an end. Jay’s songs range from stories of the sea and love gone wrong as well as heartfelt political songs that steer clear of browbeating and lecturing. His writing seems simple but is in way simple. I would say genius but knowing Jay I also know he is a humble and generous soul who would blush at such a epitaph chucked in his direction. Simply to say Jay is as good a writer that celtic-punk has and his music is truly soul music.

Over a year ago in November 2014 we wrote

“It may be another chapter but its not the end of the book for Jay and we look forward to hearing much more from him”

Well Love In The Time of Fear is a great 2nd chapter in Jay Wars history and we love the evolution of the sound into a full on band while keeping a toe firmly in the acoustic-celtic-folk of what has been before. The great news for us is that Jay will soon be joining us on these shores. What on earth has possessed him to leave Australia to come here to the doom and gloom and rain of northern England is anyone’s guess but we can count ourselves lucky that we will get to see a lot more of Jay in the near future. The album is out in just under a month on Whisk And Key Records in Australia and is available for pre-order at the link below. When more links come in we will add them.

Contact Jay

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube

Buy The Album

WhiskAndKeyRecords (out February 5th 2016)

Between The Wars

Between The Wars

Web-Site  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter

We got a load of related stuff here including an interview with Jay herea review of the first Jay Wars album Carry Me Home here and a review of the final Between The Wars album ‘Wont Go Quietly’ here.

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LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS OUR BEST OF 2014!

TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014

Last year our ‘Best Of’ list was completely dominated by bands from these shores but this time there’s a much more international flavour to 2014’s Best Album’s list. Again Irish influenced bands dominate but the absolute standout album for me was without a doubt Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards from Italy who nailed their fusion of punk rock and traditional music completely. With their own roots and influences included along with some amazing uilleann piping they are deserved winners of the Best Album spot. Kitchen Implosion join them in what has been a great year for Italian bands. Sure not all of these twenty bands are celtic-punk in the dictionary definition of the phrase but sod that anyway. These are what we liked and they all fit in in some way. Twenty bands from thirteen countries (Italy, England, Sweden, Brittany, Canada, Ireland, USA, Australia, Brazil, Catalonia, Germany, Switzerland and Belguim) which only goes to show the international appeal of the celtic-punk scene these days. A special mention for London Irish band Creeds Cross superb debut album. Only just caught them live and they were awesome so hoping to see much more of them around town in 2015.
As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review.
We compiled the ‘Best Of’ lists together from the scraps of paper handed to me by the various admins from the London Celtic Punks facebook page.
1. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS- ‘Get The Folk Out!’ (here)
2. CREEDS CROSS- ‘Gods And Fighting Men (here)
3. ROVERS AHEAD- Always The Sinner, Never The Saint (here)
4. LES RAMONEURS DE MENHIRS- Tan Ar Bobl (here)
5. THE MAHONES- The Hunger And The Fight
6. BLOOD OR WHISKEY- Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil (here)
7. THE ROUGHNECK RIOT- Out Of Anger
8. BASTARD BEARDED IRISHMEN- Rise Of The Bastard (here)
9. JAY WARS- Carry Me Home (here)
10. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY- Letters from the Road Less Travelled
11. 6’10- The Humble Beginnings Of A Rovin’ Soul (here)
12. LUGH- Quando Os Canecos Batem (here)
13. SIGELPA- TerraMorte (here)
14. KITCHEN IMPLOSION- Pretty Work Brave Boys! (here)
15. THE KILKENNY KNIGHTS- Bradys Pub Tales (here)
16. BEYOND THE FIELDS- The Falcon Lives (here)
17. THE YOUNG DUBLINERS- ‘Nine (here)
18. KELTIKON- Agenbite Of Inwit (here)
19. FM 359- Truth, Love And Liberty (here)
20. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – Scotland in Our Hearts
a special special mention for three absolutely brilliant compilation albums too. Can’t really include them in the Best of charts so heres all three in no particular order at all as they are all 11 out of 10!
a class album with 4 songs per band and an absolutely beautifully put together record. THE PORTERS/ THE JUDAS BUNCH/ THE MAHONES/ MALASANERS 4-WAY SPLIT DOUBLE ALBUM- ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’ (2014)  here
a mostly Russian compilation paying tribute to all (lets just face it they are!) our favourite celtic-punk band- ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ (2014)  here
this ought to be the number one album of the year to be honest. a fecking amazing compilation of Indonesian celtic-punk bands.the quality is amazing throughout.absolutely stunning. I cannot recommend enough!! ‘Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic-Punk Compilation’ (2014)  here

TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015

No question which EP deserved this and Russia’s Middle Class Bastards just blasted us away with their follow up to their 2013 album. Superb use of bagpipes and brass instruments combined with fast but tuneful punk rock. A bit unfortunate for Black Water County who looked nailed on to win this for most of the year with their fantastic 2nd EP. The Breton band The Maggie Whackers released their EP back at the start of the year while The South Sea Ramblers from South Africa literally released theirs just a couple of weeks ago while LQR from Holland slipped theirs out in time for St Patricks Day… ooh err missus! So spread out across the year but these are the ones that left their mark. Looking forward to hearing more from them all and long players must be arriving soon I hope.
1. MIDDLE CLASS BASTARD- Rebel To The Core (here)
2. BLACK WATER COUNTY- Fellowship Of the Craic (here)
3. THE MAGGIE WHACKERS- Naoned Whisky (here)
4. LQR- A Touch Of Liquor (here)
5. SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- Bare Knuckle Blackout

TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014

As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved them all to bits. Hard to decide which order they should go in but this is how we ended up. Turned out to be an all Irish list with I DRAW SLOW from Dublin with beautiful alternative country sounds and both Cork’s THE BUACHAILLS and London’s THE CRAICHEADS going head to head with both bands playing similar styles of music while Irish-American supergroup THE ALT’s debut album was a worthy runner-up to fellow Irish-Americans RUNA’s brillliant fourth album.
1. RUNA- Current Affairs (here)
2. THE ALT- ‘The Alt (here)
3. THE CRAICHEADS- Brewed in London (here) 
3. THE BUACHAILLS- At Your Call (here)
5. I DRAW SLOW- ‘WhiteWave Chapel (here)

BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014

Celtic Folk Punk And More Blogonce again there is no question who gets this
CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE
 keeping the whole wide world up to date with what’s going on and who is doing who within celtic punk (and more!) while also supplying us with regular free downloads and free compilations. Waldo you’re great. Keep it up mate!

BEST GIGS

Apart from the ones we put on which were all amazing and showcased some amazing performances from JAY WARS and THE DEAD MAGGIES from Aus, THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS from Norway, a couple of benefit gigs for Mad Dog out The Popes (hope youre back on your guitar highkicking soon pal!), BLACK WATER COUNTY played their London debut and went down a fecking storm, me O’s mates STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY were as superb as ever and released a fantastic album. One of the major highlights was discovering the quintessential London Celtic Punk in ANTO MORRA and we look forward to working with him again in the future. We teamed up with fellow Londoners of Urbankelt and will be doing so again too.

I also saw DAVID ROVICS for the first time, THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG’s amazing 30th anniversary show was incredible, NECK and their sadly ended residency at TChances which had us all pissed on Polish lager on Sunday afternoons for the first 6 months of the year, FLOGGING MOLLY in Reading in June which showed they havent lost a thing and are as great as ever, THE POGUE TRADERS were the best Pogues tribute band I ever seen. Disappointing was missing so many gigs where I just didnt have the cash especially The Pogues various outings. THE STANFIELDS from Canada seemed like a decent bunch of lads but their London gig was a total rip-off. The pre-gig ticket price was £7-50 which more than doubled to £15 on the door on the night. Oi bands watch out for charlaten promoters won’t you? Rebellion music fest brings loads of decent bands over to play but that means that they all end up playing in the same week so I had to forgo THE GO-SET’s return to London. Missed out on THE WOLFE TONES London gigs too due to work. All three of them! THE LAGAN have been brilliant. Far far too many of their gigs to go into detail so we have choosen the whole of St Patricks Weekend as our Number One! With NECK playing three gigs over the weekend and both THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS and THE LAGAN playing on the same day as well it seen a clean sweep of all the London bands done. Afterwards sick days were phoned in, headache pills were taken and the best St Patricks in donkeys was had.
Now were just looking forward to catching THE DROPKICK MURPHYS ‘Celtic Invasion ‘ Tour in Dublin and London this year round St Patricks Day.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
 London Celtic Punks
Of course all these things are very subjective so don’t be dismayed if your album ain’t here. What appeals to one don’t neccessarily appeal to another. It would be impossible to keep up with the multitude of celtic-punk related releases so these are the best of of what we actually did get to hear. All the various sites in the celtic-punk family had different winners so to see what they thought check out the Best Of lists of the following sites…
click on the blog logo at the top of the page to find more of this kind of stuff…

ALBUM REVIEW: JAY WARS- ‘Carry Me Home’ (2014)

simple acoustic music. passion, anger, heart and a sense of humour and absolutely nothing at all like James Blunt

Jay Wars- 'Carry Me Home' (2014)

Here we go again I hear you all groan and say “oh no not another bloody Australian celtic-punk album. Any minute now he’s gonna start banging on about The Rumjacks and Aussie celtic-punk being the best in the world”… well surprise surprise you’re right and you’re right for a good reason. Aussie celtic-punk has the best scene in the world and it didn’t get that way from just writing songs about drinking either. For whatever reason, and we’ve touched on it in this interview with Jay before (here), the Australian bands just seem to be better story tellers than most. Their songs have an uncanny ability to uplift and educate and inspire you. I mean even the average bands are brilliant! We were enormous fans of Jay’s previous band Between The Wars and it broke our hearts when we heard they’d split up earlier in the year. Luckily for us though Jay has returned with an outstanding album of acoustic celtic folk punk that keeps much of the spirit of Between The Wars but adds just enough of a new feel to it to stop it being another BTW record.

Jay Wars

His new album ‘Carry Me Home’ came out on last month on Australian-based record label Slippery Slope Records which specialises in celtic punk, folk punk,  folk and celtic sounds. Between The Wars were very much on the celtic folkier side of celtic-punk and this album continues in that vein. From the start with the slow instrumental ‘Prologue’ its unmistakable where the roots of this album lay. The first proper track is  ‘Pints Of Guinness Make Me Weak’ a slow ballad with just acoustic guitar and ex-BTW’er Hayley Anderson’s great fiddle and Jays voice. One of the things BTW were most famed for was their storytelling lyrics and on Carry Me Home that tradition continues.

“We stood at the bar and sang useless songs. We stood at the bar and we sang Black Is The Colour”

Another thing they were famous for was their perfect mix of light hearted and dark material. ‘Give Me A Drink!’ is the first visit to celtic-punk territory and doesn’t disappoint with the drums clashing away and the fiddle on fire. A great song.

“that night I walked alone but at least it was fucking better than going home. I crept back homeward on my hands and my knees. The wife was at the door with a bottle of brown ale for me”

Jay Wars

it’s a London Celtic Punker!

‘Souvenirs’ is a love story set to lovely Irish fiddle and Jays guitar. Joe Guiton, from Melbourne folk punkers Suicide Tuesdays, guests on backing vocals.

“I’m in love with who we’ve been. Now I’ve got to make it last before I fuck it up (and I’m gonna fuck it up). You and I will fly for the rest of our lives. We’re souvenirs”

‘The Irish Boys Of Old’ is a modern day classic Irish celtic-punk rebel song. BTW never shied away from mentioning the war in Ireland and never flinched from taking sides either and this song leaves you in no doubt where they stand.

“The King and the Crown have tried to take our land and no matter how hard we fight, they’re the stronger man. We take to the hills and we take to the lanes. There’s no higher calling than to fight for Ireland”

Again great fiddle playing and lyrics but five songs in and I’ve a feeling that I could be saying that about every song! And I haven’t even said the word catchy yet! no Jay album wouldn’t be complete without a sea shanty but as is his way ‘The Cruel Sea’ is punked up to eleven and sails past at full pace, accompanied on the mando by Joel Stibbard, its one of the album’s standout tracks.

“The water kept on flowing inwards taking all the rum away; no chance to drink our fears away. We are the disaster of the open sea, take another hit. We are the disaster of the open sea, take another life, take another life, take another worthless life”

The drums on ‘If You’re Not, Don’t’ are typical of this album. Even though the song is not particularly fast Dan Scalpelli’s drums drive the song along and combined with Jay’s voice give the album a proper celtic-punk in yer face feel.

“Looking back at my history, it’s pretty clear that I am not the safest bet. You can breathe in as long as you breathe out. If you’re not in love then don’t come home”

‘Oh Penny’ is yer classic working class love ballad of lost love best to be listened to crying into a beer of course.

“I joined the union when I turned of age just like my daddy did. Building the buildings, giving Melbourne a face, but I was still just a kid. I vowed to continue to raise the money because Penny’s worth her weight in gold”

Hayley and Jay

Hayley and Jay

‘The Number Of The Worker’ is a union promoting working man and womans street anthem chock full of class pride. As someone who does twelve hour shifts its long bugged me that it should be

“Eight hours to work, Eight hours to play, Eight hours to sleep”

they let fly no holds barred

“I tell you I’d rather die than not raise my banner high so let’s up and tell the big knobs to take heed and its 8-8-8, the number of the worker with hours for everything we need, we’ll stand our ground and we’ll raise our flags. For the eight hour day, the working man will bleed”

‘Linoleum’ is the NOFX classic but Jay plays it as a simple song sounding just how Jay would. Opening his heart for us. ‘A Derry Girl And A Whiskey Chaser’ is Jay and Hayley again and once again is just a plain great song. It has an old fashioned feel to it with wonderful lyrics about the death of a friend.

“Johnny boy we miss you, cry out your oldest friends. Where’s our man of jokes and tales, will he ever be seen again? Here’s a song for our mate, a pint for his loss and a chorus for his love. May his Derry girl and a whiskey chaser await him up above. A final word for all you poets, artists and the strums. Take your hearts and hopes and dreams and rise up from the slums and if you happen to get lucky and find yourself some gold, give a thought to Johnny, let his memory not get old”

‘I Wont Die Digging’ sounds like it could have been on the ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ soundtrack with Jay and friends singing about back breaking work, drinking and graves with the sound of wind whistling in their ears.

“I’m digging my grave, knee deep in the soil. I’ve broken my back from a month of toil. I’m going to hell for the rest of my days. Until that moment comes, I’m digging my grave”

Next up is ‘Sleepy’ featuring backing vocals from Teer, Jays partner and light of his life.

“and it feels like it’s been too long since I’ve seen you. Yes, it feels like every minute’s too long since I’ve seen you so sleep again”

Jay again spills his heart for us and is the perfect way to drift into the albums last track ‘Epilogue’. Backed by the Australian-Irish band Saoirse, Jay tells of living and fighting in Derry in your youth and leaving your girl and Ireland behind to go to Australia.

“I haven’t made a life here. What use is a life without you? I’m either drunk or fighting, sometimes both, but I don’t care”

A sad song but the history of the Irish away from Ireland has never been a particularly good one. Many fell through the cracks of society damaged by drink and drugs or just hard work. Not many fortunes were made its sad to say.

Jay Wars

Overall this is a superb album and one of my favourites of 2014. I was a massive fan of Between The Wars and I’m extremely happy that Jay is continuing what they began but as i said earlier its not just another BTW record you’re listening to but the next chapter. Lyrically its as good as anything I’ve ever heard in celtic/folk-punk. Jay’s words have always resonated with me. Maybe its his long distance Yorkshire roots! The musicians on this album are all top notch as well. Throughout ‘Carry Me Home’ Hayleys fiddle playing is just downright brilliant. Never over complicated and never over dominating it simply accompanies. It may be another chapter but its not the end of the book for Jay and we look forward to hearing much more from him.

Contact Jay

Facebook

Buy The Album

Here  Don’t bother getting it from anywhere else as if you buy from Jay he’s donated all proceeds to several charities. good man! He’s taking NO money for the digital version of the record and $4 to go towards production costs of the physical copy.

Slippery Slope Records

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Between The Wars

Between The Wars

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We got a load of related stuff here including an interview with Jay here and a review of the last Between The Wars album ‘Wont Go Quietly’ here.

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