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Martin Simpson & Thomm Jutz Announce New Collaborative Album

Jul 12, 2023

July 7, 2023 – London: “These are mysterious songs, that’s what sets them apart from popular music,” says Grammy-nominated and IBMA Award-winning songwriter and guitarist Thomm Jutz. He’s speaking about his long-running obsession with Cecil Sharp’s 1916 and 1918 collection, “English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians;” particularly those tunes from singers Mary Sands and Jane Gentry. “A lot goes unexplained. Why certain characters find themselves in certain situations is not as important as how they deal with them,” says Jutz.

“The stories and messages in these songs are as important today as they were hundreds of years ago. The reason for this is that they deal with archetypes. And archetypes and the problems related to them transcend time and place.” Jutz’s journey through the English folk song collector’s work led him to these two particular women who might’ve unknowingly changed the course of folk music history—and to his trans-Atlantic collaborator, award-winning English artist, songwriter, and guitarist, Martin Simpson

“Martin Simpson is one of the greatest guitar players on the planet and it was a dream to work with him on this album,” says Jutz. “Together we selected the songs and paired singers and songs. It was easy. We had talked on the phone but never met in person. I picked him up at the Nashville airport and five days later we had the first six songs. Then we flew to England together and after a week had the rest.” 

Martin Simpson* and Thomm Jutz** both clearly see the crucial need for each new generation to reinvent these folk songs. “I strongly believe that innovation requires preservation,” says Jutz. “How can we claim to play traditional music or write ‘Folk music’ without knowing the roots of it?” Fortunately for all involved, the pair found a host of others in agreeance and brought together a mix of roots artists from both sides of the pond—Sierra Hull, Angeline Morrison, Odessa Settles, Tim O’Brien, Tammy Rogers, Seth Lakeman, and more—to create an homage to the bridge from Appalachia to England and back, just as the songs of Sands and Gentry originally did. The collection is called Nothing But Green Willow: The Songs of Mary Sands and Jane Gentry and will be released on September 29th via Topic Records on LP and deluxe CD edition, which includes an astonishing, highly educational 20 page booklet, featuring in-depth liner notes by Dr Ted Olson (Professor of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University)

Simpson and Jutz  have shared the first single from Nothing But Green Willow. ‘Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies’ featuring Northern Irish folk singer Cara Dillon is a song that inspired a book by Lee Smith and is still being sung on the Grand Ol’ Opry by vocal group The Whites. Dillon’s stunning vocal performance is only matched by Simpson and Jutz’s instinctual guitar counterpoint. “This is one of my favorite examples of how Martin and I played off each other,” says Jutz. “None of it was planned or premeditated. We ran through this song once in Cara’s kitchen before we recorded it on a gorgeous summer day in Frome.”

 

Nothing But Green Willow Tracklist:

‘Fair Annie’ feat. Emily Portman

‘Geordie’ feat. Sierra Hull & Justin Moses

‘Pretty Saro’ feat. Odessa Settles

‘Edward’ feat. Seth Lakeman

‘Edwin in the Lowlands Low’ feat. Tim O’Brien

‘Jacob’s Ladder’ feat. Dale Ann Bradley & Tim Stafford

‘Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies’ feat. Cara Dillon

‘The Wagoner’s Lad’ feat. Martin Simpson

‘Married and Single Life’ feat. Tammy Rogers

‘The Gypsy Laddie’ feat. Thomm Jutz

‘The Suffolk Miracle’ feat. Angeline Morrison

‘I Whipped My Horse’ feat. Fay Hield

‘Awake! Awake!’ feat. Thomm Jutz

*Martin Simpson is an English folk musician and guitarist, known for his innovative and eclectic approach to traditional music. In the mid-1980s, Simpson moved to the United States, where he came to the attention of a wide range of American artists with whom he then collaborated, including Jackson Browne, Steve Miller, David Hidalgo, Kelly Joe Phelps, David Lindley and many others. Amongst the albums released during his US tenure, ‘Cool & Unusual,’ won the Indie award for best instrumental album in 1998. Signed to the legendary folk label, Topic Records, for which he has recorded over 13 albums since 1980, Simpson has been nominated for 32 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including Artist of the Year (nine times consecutively), Best Album, Best Original Song, Best Traditional Track, Best Guitarist, and Musician of the Year.  He has won Musician Of The Year twice, Album Of The Year twice, Best Original Song and Best Traditional Arrangement. In addition to his work as a musician, Simpson has also been involved in music education, teaching at universities and leading workshops and masterclasses around the world. 

**Thomm Jutz: Raised in the Black Forest of Germany, Thomm Jutz has become an American roots music treasure. His virtuosity, eloquence, and clarity of expression have made him a linchpin of Nashville’s creative community, and in 2020 his To Live in Two Worlds, Volume 1 was nominated for the Best Bluegrass Album Grammy, making him the first immigrant to receive a nomination in that category. He’s earned four nominations and a 2021 win for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year award and is a current lecturer of songwriting at Belmont University. He has written numerous Bluegrass number ones, and his songs have been recorded by John Prine, Nanci Griffith, The SteelDrivers, Balsam Range, and more. He’s had over 250 film and TV placements of his music worldwide. Jutz has a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies from East Tennessee State University and wrote his thesis on Grammy-winner Norman Blake. Jutz was featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s American Currents exhibit, slated to run 2022-2023.

For further information visit:martinsimpson.com or thommjutz.com

Nothing But Green Willow: The Songs of Mary Sands and Jane Gentry  is  available to  pre-order or pre-save ahead of its September release date  here

 

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