Enoch Kent
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Enoch Kent

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM
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"Penguin Eggs - Review of One More Round"

Not tempted by a love song about a bonnie wee lass? Jump a couple of tracks and you'll find another tune about a comely gal, but this one a murder ballad. If that's not to your taste, Scotland-born, Canada-dwelling (for 42 years now) Enoch Kent will sing to you about bawdy interludes, children's games from decades ago or cremation. As long as the story rivets and carries an air of traditionalism -even if he's written the thing himself - he'll perform it. And by the time he's done performing, he's made the song so totally his own that subsequent interpreters are left seriously considering a career change. Born into a working class Glasgow family, Kent is a smoky-voiced vocalist with not a retiring bone in his body. His work is pure delight, an infectious blend of knowing humour and deep compassion, and the world would be a better place with more Enoch Kents in it.

- Penguin Eggs, Patrick Langston


"NOW Magazine - Rating: NNNN - Review of One More Round"

Glasgow-born Enoch Kent has been playing traditional Scottish music for more than 40 years. His authentic sounds have made him one of Canada’s most sought-after purveyors of Scottish music, so it’s likely more than a few folks here and overseas will be excited by his new disc, One More Round. The album consists mostly of traditional tunes like Itches In Me Britches and Harlaw, and the few originals – Children’s Games and The Dancing Fool – still have that old-timey sound. Minimalist arrangements and warm vocal sounds make this disc perfect for that Scottish wannabe in your family.

- NOW Magazine, Bryan Borzykowski


"Alberta Local News - Review of One More Round"



It may well be a lingering genetic connection to my faint Celtic roots, but of late I've found myself enamoured with the folk music of the British Isles.

Folks such as Nic Jones, Dick Gaughan, Mary Kathleen Burke, and Jackie Leven are finding themselves on my stereo with some regularity. And now, Enoch Kent.Forty-two years in Canada has not thinned the soup that is Enoch Kent’s rich Scottish brogue. It’s a delightful sound to acquaint oneself, and keen listeners will soon fall under his rhythmic spell. A contemporary of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, this collection of tales, ballads, and love songs features traditional music depicting 15th Century battles (Harlaw), bawdy humour (Supper is na Ready), songs likely older than written language (The Butcher Boy), warm remembrances of childhood (The Dancing Fool) and observances of how some childhoods have changed (Children's' Games). Kent’s singing voice is a pleasure to hear, and on most of these sixteen tracks he is ably supported by Pat Simmonds and Kelly Hood on a variety of uilleann and Scottish small pipes, whistles, accordions, guitars, and fiddles. Beautiful, if you ken whit ah mean.
- Alberta Local News, Donald Teplyske


"Montreal Gazette - Review of One More Round"

On his fifth album in six years, after a recording layoff of more than three decades, Kent continues to mesmerize as one of the great masters of traditional Scottish
folk singing. **** (Borealis Records)
- Montreal Gazette, Mike Regenstreif


"Dirty Linen (review of I'm A Workin' Chap)"

-- Bruce Baker, Dirty Linen
Enoch Kent is a singer and a crafter of songs in the fine old mold of Ewan MacColl, and Kent's broad, smoky, powerful voice is every bit the equal of MacColl's. Kent learned his songs in Glasgow, though he now lives in Canada. To give a flavour of his songwriting, it is only necessary to point out that he is the author of "The Farm Auction". A strong streak of old-fashioned Clydeside socialism runs through Kent's songs, expressed powerfully yet elegantly in "A Drunk Man Looks at the Weavin' ", and "My Father's Cause". The traditional ballads and muckle sangs are an important part of Kent's repertoire as well, and Burns also has his tune here. Any lover of songs needs to find a handy place on the shelf for this fine recording. - Dirty Linen


"Enoch Kent's Scots folk reborn in powerful new album"

"A bit of a break" is the way veteran Scottish folksinger Enoch Kent describes his 30-year absence from the recording studio. "I was waiting for a reason to make a record", says the 70-year old singer and songwriter, founding member in the 1950s and early 60s of folk revivalist stalwarts The Reivers in his native Glasgow, and then The Exiles in London.

Kent was one of the original members - along with legendary songwriters, song collectors and stoic socialists Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger - of The Singers Club (also known as The Critics Group) in London during protest music's first flowering.

He immigrated to Canada in the late 1960s and earned his living as a schoolteacher, then a graphic designer in the advertising trade, but never stopped writing, never stopped playing guitar, never stopped singing for himself in his Etobicoke home. If it hadn't been for a handful of people (Toronto folk enthusiasts, fiddler Lawrence Stevenson, songwriter/producer Tim Harrison and guitarist/producer Ian Bell) badgering me to get some songs onto a record, I'd probably not have done it", Kent explains in a rich and raspy, full-throated Glasgow burr. "I kept asking them, 'what's the point?'

He's talking about "I'm A Workin' Chap", a collection of 15 powerful, evocative and quite beautifully performed ballads - some from the traditional Scottish repertoire, most of them originals, or original lyrics paired with ancient folk airs, all of them squarely in the Extreme Folk mold, but far from mouldy - which has just been released on Harrison's Second Avenue label. The event will be celebrated Sunday night at a concert featuring Kent, presented by the Flying Cloud Folk Club at the Tranzac Club.

The album is an instant classic, an all-but-flawless exercise in folk art and craft, combining perspective, brave and often provocative lyrics - Kent's political faith is as strong as his love of a wry and ribald ditty - with graceful melodies, sparsely embellished with guitar arpeggios, some fiddle and flute, and a seasoned singer's unwavering commitment to conveying the full meaning of what he knows are songs of the very highest quality.

Now retired, and a good 20 years after he last performed at the Mariposa Folk Festival - where he used to be one of fabled programmer Estelle Klein's regulars - Kent has recently rediscovered the joys of public performance. Earlier this year he was invited to sing at the Edinburg Festival, where he was welcomed at half-a-dozen performances by admiring young fans, many of them singers and writers inspired by Kent's own early work. "I was astonished that they knew me at all, but when they started quoting songs and singing bits and pieces of The Exiles' repertoire... weel, who'd have thought? And what they're singing and writing about are the same things we were doing, back in the CND (Committee for Nuclear Disarmament) and anti-apartheid marches, when they called us pinkos and commies - big things, big ideas about political and social systems and war and greed, the stuff that can change the way people think. "Maybe they were the children or the grandchildren of the people back home I used to know ..."

His wellspring is still the stories of the working people and hard-minded ideals of the hometown Kent says he occasionally visits, "but not often enough". In one song, "My Father's Cause", he laments not being able in the new millenium to explain to his grandchildren the reasons for acts of terrorism and of the murderous retribution of the wealthy and powerful. "At our kitchen table, my father would always find a way to help us see why these terrible things happened and how they could be avoided", Kent says,
his voice breaking ever so slightly. "I have to tell the kids, I have no idea, I do not know...

"It's a different world, but the same things still make my blood boil. When I read in the newspaper that the Singer company, which made the sewing machine my mother made all our clothes on, was now making guidance systems for nuclear weapons, it drove me to distraction... I had to write a song". The same thing happened when, a few years ago, Kent witnessed the sad finality of a bank-enforced farm auction. The song tells of that experience, "The Farm Auction", has been recorded by half-a-dozen other artists - never till now by Kent himself - and is well established in the traditional song repertoire.

"People pass it along as if it were a folk song, as if it was always there", Kent chuckles. "That makes me so proud... knowing that there's something out there, something I made, that someone else finds useful".

- Toronto Star


"Sing Out! review of Love, Lust & Loathing"

Enoch Kent embodies the epitome of the fusion of Irish-Scots-English traditional music with contemporary songwriting. This second CD for Toronto's Second Avenue label skillfully combines the tradition with the contemporary. Sometimes he sings the trads straight as he learned them; others he polishes and embellishes, leaving them the better for his wisdom. He sings three originals set to traditional melodies and there's a Robert Burns song for good measure, and one by Nancy Nicolson. Kent's voice resembles highly polished titanium, never shiny, but deep, rich and burnished. Its deep patina wraps each song in a powerful authenticity. He performs several songs a cappella, some accompanying himself on the guitar and a few with light accompaniment. Picking outstanding performances on this CD presents the same challenge of choosing just a few chocolates from a Godiva assortment. Fortunately, this is a CD, or I would have already have worn out the grooves on Kent's interpretation of Burns' "Mary Morison". Then there's his unique twist singing his own collection of lyrics of "The Lichtbob's Lassie" to the tune of "I Know Where I'm Going" which mostly parallels "Katy Cruel". "Stanley's Song for the Women" is as strong of a feminist statement as written by an woman. Nicolson's "They Sent A Wumman" continues that thread.

Kent borrows the tune for "A Man's A Man" to combine an ode to his mother and her sewing machine with an angry indictment of the Singer Company which ceased manufacturing sewing machines in the 1980s to concentrate on weapons of war. If you like trendy cocktails filled with sugar and froth, perhaps Kent won't appeal to you. If you're a connoisseur of single malt scotch or good cognac, you needn't let Kent age any further. His music is ready for moving the soul and enjoyment now.


- Sing Out!


"Penguin Eggs review of For The Women"

With his third recording in recent years, singer/songwriter Enoch Kent has put together a wonderful repertoire of material dedicated to the lives and loves of women. For The Women is a fine blend of traditional and contemporary songs mostly arranged by Kent. For this recording he has assembled a cast of talented musicians (Ian Bell, Shelley Brown, Anne Lindsay) to support his dark lilting voice as he weaves wonderful stories of love, war and the trials of of women workers in the last two centuries. As with his previous recordings I'm A Workin' Chap and Love, Lust & Loathing, Kent and company create a warm ambiance that captivates the listener quickly. Songs such as "Come Me Little Son" and Kent's own "Standing There" stand out for their arrangements and great performance, but it is his solo a capella singing on the CD that most clearly communicate to the listener the talent and charms that make Kent a national treasure in both his native Scotland and his home, Canada.

- Penguin Eggs


Discography

2002 - I'm A Workin' Chap
2003 - Love, Lust & Loathing
2005 - For The Women
2006 - I'm A Rover
2008 - One More Round

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Bio

* 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards winner - Traditional Singer of the Year *

Scotland-born and now Canada-based, this legendary songsmith was co-founder of the acclaimed Singers Club with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. In the 1950s, Enoch formed the traditional Scottish group, The Reivers, with Josh MacRae, Rena Swankie and Moyna Flanagan. The group researched the history, lyrics and music of Scottish folksongs, which were published by The Scotsman. Scottish Television then signed the young band to perform these old treasures weekly to a new and ever-widening audience. These live shows and steadfast interest in promoting traditional music formed the foundation of the Scottish folk music revival that took place in the 1950s and 1960s.

Later, when Enoch moved to London, he kept this music alive and well with his folk band "The Exiles", co-founded by fellow Scotsmen Gordon MacCulloch and Bobby Campbell. Since immigrating to Canada in the 60s, Enoch performed in many folk clubs and festivals across the country to critical acclaim. During that time, he focused only on live performance and decided to put recording aside for, as he says, "a wee while".

A mere 36 years later, at 70 years young, Enoch well made up for lost time with his return to the studio and the release of 4 outstanding CDs on the indie label Second Avenue Records: "I'm A Workin' Chap", "Love, Lust & Loathing", "For The Women", and "I'm A Rover". Enoch just released his 5th CD, "One More Round" on Borealis Records, These albums garnered rave reviews, extensive airplay, a Canadian Folk Music Award, Songs From The Heart Award, and tour opportunities across Canada, the US, and UK.

His collections of songs include such original gems as the "The Farm Auction", (recorded by Garnet Rogers, The McCalmans, Jean Redpath and others), "No More Cod On The Banks", "The Widows O' War", "Edinburgh Maggie", and "I Didn't Raise My Son To Be A Soldier".

Enoch's music is treasured by both traditional and contemporary music enthusiasts with a passion for story-songs, love and betrayal ballads, and gritty politics. While his songs are deeply rooted in the Scottish style, much of his subject matter is Canadian, giving his music a unique cultural blend. What's more is Enoch's natural storytelling style complemented by a ferocious wit and kitchen range warmth.

Record Label:
Borealis Records www.borealisrecords.com

Management:
Lisa Weitz, LW Communications
info@lwcommunications www.lwcommunications.ca