Management / Booking Agent / Wanted For Country * Folk* Acoustic Act

1168 days ago


Management / Booking Agent / Wanted For Country * Folk* Acoustic Act

We are looking for someone who can take us to the next level. we are not expecting Superstardom, but Cambridge Festival would be nice.

Check Out Black*Scarr at

HOUSE OF MERCY RADIO Our record of the week comes from a brand new East London duo, Black/ Scarr, their debut album "North & South" is destined to become a classic, sounds like a Nashville roots album with colourful East London lyrics with a sprinkle of coal dust from Johnny Blacks home country of England's North East. The coming together of Emma Scarr & Johnny results in ' North & South ' our record of the week. / Barry Everitt Marshall


Reissued every Christmas, Fairytale of New York has, deservedly, become a modern classic, but if you ever wondered what happened to the mismatched lovers after they got out of the drunk tank, this debut album by East London duo Johnny Black and Emma Scarr, joined by Chris Jinx on banjo, uke and Dobro, surely holds the answer. A Geordie raised on a Nuneaton council estate Black’s CV includes work as a model (he’s appeared on record sleeves for The Scorpions and Ian Dury), newspaper columnist, TV personality (he was in acclaimed 1992 Channel 4 reality doc The Sex Hunters and wrote and starred in 1996 mockumentary Bouncers) and his own website where he performs satirical songs about current events and celebs. Hailing from Leytonstone, Scarr’s not had quite the same colourful life but, raised on a musical diet of Earle, Emmylou, Kristofferson, Fairport, The Dubliners and Welch, she learned guitar, 5 string banjo and fiddle, joining trad outfit The Northern Celts back in 2000, as well as releasing fine alt-country solo, Angel Way, in 2008. That had her likened to Mary Gauthier, but she also sounds a lot like Kirsty MacColl, albeit with a frisky fiddle in her hand and, while Black may not mirror MacGowan’s slur, Irish filtered, verse-trading One More Drink sounds like the sequel that never was while Scarr’s sardonic slow waltzing Happy Anniversary and (sounding not unlike Costello) Black’s sway-along Love’s Just A Dirty Word could be each character’s solo romantic lament. But there’s a lot more to this than a coincidental echo of The Pogues finest moment. There’s great affection here for classic old school country, wonderfully expressed on Scarr’s I’ll Make Do With Him Forever, a love that can never be number that wouldn’t be out of place on a vintage Loretta Lynn or Kitty Wells collection while, rippling with banjo backing, Black’s wonderful hymn to his spiritual home, Angel Of The North, shares a Honky Tonk soul with Hank Williams, even if it does feature English bagpipes. Drawing on Scarr’s bluegrass influences, opening track Walking Down The Line, hayride hoe down Walking Back To You, My Sister Has A Gun and sprightly sparring duet Hornbeam Cafe (an organic volunteer run eatery in Walthamstow since you ask) all call to mind the briefly glorious days of 80s London cow-punk bluegrass folk of The Boot-hill Foot-Tappers. But while they may name-check Guy Clark on Together, this remains very much rooted on English soil. As well as the Gateshead guardian, Black references the north-east again on the train rhythm closing time chorus friendly sing-along Blackhall Rocks, where he asks for his ashes to be spread "when I run out of time and the good Lord stops the clock’ while the wistful folk waltzing lost love of Already Gone has Scarr journey around Kings Cross, Westminster, Brixton Hill and the Thames Estuary. Getting known outside their regular gigging circuit might not be easy, but once the word starts to reach appreciative ears, then it could well find a spot on several best of lists next time Fairytale In New York comes into season. The ball starts rolling here.

Mike Davies January 2012

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