You find me momentarily pausing in my attempts to chuck every permutation of clothing into a bag while simultaneously rummaging through cupboards in search of my inflatable mattress. Tomorrow morning I'm off to FolkEast, my annual brief concession to what Evan Dando memorably described as being the outdoor type. I'll be sleeping under the stars (well, under canvas under the stars to be precise, but you get my drift) for three nights and catching as many bands as possible at my one festival of the year. Somewhere near the top of my 'to see' list is a rare set by The Imagined Village, the ever-evolving, genre-bending supergroup featuring Martin & Eliza Carthy, Billy Bragg, Simon Emmerson of Afro-Celt Sound System, sitar player Sheema Mujherjee, tabla percussionist Johnny Kalsi and drummer Andy Gangadeen. Also in the line-up (I hope) will be Jackie Oates, someone who I've wanted to see in concert for a very long time. True, on this occasion she'll just be part of the band, but I hope she gets to step forward for at least one or two numbers. Jackie is about to release her eighth solo album and she's made others in tandem with fellow artists such as Megan Henwood and John Spiers. They're all recommended and many of them are available to sample on her Bandcamp page (here).
For the purposes of this feature (the first new instalment since January 2021!) here are a couple of absolutely breathtaking covers by Jackie. The Cure's 'Untitled' was recorded for 'Life's What You Make It', a compilation of various folkies tackling 1980s hits, while 'On and On' will appear on that new solo album I mentioned, 'Gracious Wings'. Steel yourself for these.