…Dunlop’s writing, singing and staggering guitar are never overshadowed. A vital bridge between Brit folks first and latest flowerings
★★★★ Q Magazine
This is a young folk star producing staggering guitar chops and blending them with poignant lyrics creating one of the best folk albums of 2012
“An outstanding debut” Simon Mayo (BBC Radio 2)
The British folk scene has produced a series of impressive dynasties, and this looks like the start of yet another ★★★★ The Guardian
Blair Dunlop is a captivating vocalist, phenomenal guitarist and over the past year has emerged as one of the UK’s new breed of fine singer-songwriters.
Blair Dunlop’s achingly beautiful Blight & Blossom may be one of the most memorable and melodic debut albums of recent years. However, what has really marked him out from his peers is his ability to craft deceptively simple songs that connect with everyone who claps ears on them on a deeply emotional level that belies his age. Still only 21, few people in the music world who had been paying attention were surprised when he scooped the prestigious Horizon Award at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and although Blight & Blossom attracted a rapturous reception from the critics and received regular airings from a host of stations including BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music upon its release in August 2012, Dunlop took it all in his stride and set off on his travels, playing everywhere from major festivals to intimate front rooms…wherever and whenever he found an audience willing to listen.
Blair’s vocals have a paradoxically light and raunchy feel, a very much ’once heard, never forgotten’ sound. On guitar, he is forging a style of his own which is quite breathtaking. He has already been asked to appear at guitar conventions and featured recently in Acoustic Magazine purely as an up-and-coming guitarist. Listen to his playing on the new album on songs such as Threads and Secret Theatre and you’ll hear what all the fuss is about. In addition to Blair’s own highly original material (which is in abundance on his first full-length solo album), friend Richard Thompson was so impressed with Dunlop that he gave him a previously unrecorded composition – Seven Brothers – for inclusion on his debut.
To date, Blight & Blossom has managed to find its way into the homes and hearts of almost 10 000 fans. Produced by Mark Hutchinson, the album features a wonderfully cohesive, intuitive and sympathetic group of musicians – Larkin Poe, Pete Zorn, Joan Wasser (Joan As Policewoman) a string quartet, and folk-rock legend and Fairport Convention founder, Ashley Hutchins (who also happens to be his father).
Although you could argue that Blair Dunlop plays folk – a musical form that invariably and unfairly affords its brightest stars more time in the shadows than the spotlight – his ineffably moving songs somehow defy categorisation.
Whilst making absolutely no attempt to disregard his folk heritage and DNA, Blair Dunlop is very much a young man who lives in the present, not the past. His music has a classic sound and a palpable purity running through it like a stick of Blackpool rock, yet he ‘Tweets’ (though he doesn’t ‘Twerk’) and is as likely to be found listening to obscure Italian House music as he is to the eclectic range of songwriters who helped shape his mellifluous music, from The Band and Anaïs Mitchell to Nic Jones and the legendary Richard Thompson.
He is about to return to the studio to begin work on his much anticipated second long-player (due for release in the Spring of 2014) before setting off on his first tour of Australia in March 2014, a trip he has been dreaming of ever since he first picked up a guitar.
Blair Dunlop Australian Tour Dates 2014
March 7th – 10th Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy VIC http://www.portfairyfolkfestival.com/
March 12th Brunswick Music Festival, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne VIC http://www.brunswickmusicfestival.com.au/
March 14th – 16th Blue Mountains Music, Blue Mountains NSW http://www.bmff.org.au/
Mp3 Link: https://soundcloud.com/blairdunlop/less-the-pawn
Spotify Link: http://open.spotify.com/artist/7n6bYneSU1ygSj0CevdvTD