Winners of 2014’s BBC Radio Two Folk Award for Best Duo, Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, have come a long way on their journey.
In 2009, Phillip, one of the UK’s finest slide guitarists and harmonica players, moved into a tent in South Devon. He had just returned from studying Indian classical guitar in Calcutta with world expert Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya. He had his tent, his car, and a five year plan to earn a living through his music. Playing in alt-folk outfit The Roots Union, he met Devonian fiddle-singer Hannah Martin, and the pair instantly recognised a very powerful musical connection. When the band ended, they continued as a duo, playing all over the country, from Glastonbury festival to busking sessions on the seafront at Sidmouth Folk Week.
It was during one of these busking stints that they were spotted in an encounter with Steve Knightley (Show Of Hands) that now goes down in folk legend. Recognising the potential of Henry and Martin’s partnership, Knightley invited them to accompany Show Of Hands on a nationwide tour, culminating with a show at the Royal Albert Hall at Easter 2012.
The pair’s first album, Singing The Bones, was released in 2011 to warm praise, “I was completely knocked out by this duo…just a terrific album…absolutely great, wonderful” (BBC Radio Two). Constant touring followed, including an Arts Council funded tour of south west arts centres in autumn 2012. The duo went on to win “Best Folk Act” at the 2012 South West Music Awards, and began 2013 by being voted “Best Duo” by the public at the Spiral Awards. Their second studio album, Mynd, was released to great acclaim in September 2013, appearing in end of year best-ofs for The Guardian, The Telegraph, fRoots Critics Poll, Mark Radcliffe’s Radio Two Top Ten, and Songlines. They were voted Best Duo at the Radio Two Folk Awards almost exactly five years since Phillip sat in his tent and made his five year plan!
The last 18 months have been their busiest to date. They recorded a concert, Live In Calstock, to make a record of their sound during these initial years; the resulting album once again went down a storm with the critics, “utterly inspired and magnificent” (Spiral Earth). They toured with folk legend Seth Lakeman. They attended Folk Alliance in Kansas City, and bookings for Canada and Australia in 2016 swiftly followed. As well as around 130 UK dates, they have also played in South Africa, France, Norway, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium during this period.
Watershed, Henry and Martin’s keenly anticipated third studio album, is their most emotionally charged, personal and pertinent work to date. A collection of 12 inspired original songs and tunes, recorded live with The Watershed Band in Devon’s Blackdown Hills, it centres around the idea of turning points. Moving away from the historical figures and events that peopled their highly acclaimed previous album Mynd they explore the idea of a modern folk tale – drawing on personal experience to create edgier, grittier material whilst retaining an ‘everyman’ empathy.
Kith and kin inspire many of the tracks, from foundlings to mill workers, all bonded by a theme of split second decisions and forked paths that shape sliding door destinies.
The alchemy of Martin’s ever evocative songwriting, fiddle and banjo playing and the much extolled skills of Henry on dobro, harmonica and lap steel fuse into a wholly distinctive world sound – songs of lament, tunes of hope, and totally unpredictable twist and turn music, burgeoning with deft double bass from Matt Downer (Jamie Smith’s Mabon) and the textured percussion of James Taylor.
A mesmerising release to further endorse the reputation of a duo who have deservedly gained a rapid and sure foothold in the higher echelons of the roots genre.
“Subtle, atmospheric… Bravely original”
Robin Denselow, The Guardian ****
“Keen, curious and concerned intellects are at work here. Hannah Martin
is an enthralling singer; Phillip Henry plays all manner of guitars and the
Julian May, Songlines
***** Top of the World album
“Rich and complex – there is something of June Tabor about Hannah’s vocal performance – a voice that is strong and flexible and which, coupled with Phillip’s instrumental virtuosity, suggests we’re hearing stars of the future”
Dai Jeffries, R2 ****
“This duo has a combination of virtuosity, intensity and charisma
that merits a slot on much bigger stages”
John L. Walters, The Guardian
“An imaginative and innovative album – songs that linger in the memory
held together by the fine musicianship of Henry and Martin.
Strong and original – an unusual treat”
Martin Chilton, Daily Telegraph ****
You can pay by phone using Direct Debit Card,
or reserve your ticket and send a cheque to Carnglaze Caverns
or in person from the ticket office
For your information before coming to The Rum Store:
As Carnglaze is a Tourist Attraction during the day we close the site to the public at 5pm (8pm August)
The gates will then open an hour before the performance is due to start. Please see your tickets for the performance time.
Your pre-ordered tickets will arrive by post and have a compliment slip with a map and site information.
If it is too late to post the tickets to you they may be collected from the Ticket Office on site before the performance.
Seating is unreserved so it is a case of first come first served!
If you need Low Mobility Parking please inform us at the time of booking as spaces are limited and must be pre-booked.
Please remember this IS a cavern and the temperature remains at 10 deg C all year round, so warm clothing and a cushion are recommended.
We are a rural site so strong shoes and a small torch are also recommended.
Carnglaze Caverns can best be found off the A38. From Liskeard, there are brown tourist signs directing to Carnglaze just before Trago Mills. From Bodmin the signs are just past Trago Mills.
From the A30, turn off at the sign for Colliford Lake and follow the signs to St Neot. Drive through the village and Carnglaze is about a mile south of the village, on the left.
(Routes are highlighted in red on the map below.)