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The Young'uns Australian Tour

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by David Vincent (subscribe)
Occasional blogger and sometimes freelance writer, hammering away in the West Midlands.
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Simply the best?
Having enjoyed their most successful year to date, UK folk act The Young'uns are making their Australian debut with a whistle-stop tour during March 2016.

The trio from Teeside, in the North East of England, scooped the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015 Best Group title, beating the previously all-conquering favourites Bellowhead.

They also picked up Spiral Earth's Best Live Act, Fatea's Best Group and had their album placed in Mojo, The Telegraph fRoots and Folk Radio UK end of year 'best of' polls.

But the band's overnight success has been a long time coming as it's been some 13 years since school friends Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes accidentally stumbled into a pub folk night.

young'uns, folk, award, music, teeside
The Young'uns pick up their BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Group 2015.

Finding themselves in the middle of a 'sing-around' where each person in the room starts to sing a traditional song, one-by-one, and others join in they were initially confused, yet soon inspired, leading to The Young'uns official live debut in 2005.

Over the next decade, the three learnt their art in the folk clubs of Stockton and the North, and later across the UK's many folk festivals, gaining confidence and finding their feet.

Recent releases Another Man's Ground (2015) and Never Forget (2014) show what the band do best, mixing traditional and familiar material, such as songs by Ewan McColl and Billy Bragg, with the long-lost (Jimmy Go Down To Your Uncles) and increasingly, original songs.

These typically find deeply personal and human stories within darker modern themes, such as racism and war.

The Young'un's 2016 Australian tour includes appearances at The Port Fairy Folk Festival, Victoria (10 March); Bird's Basement, Melbourne (16 March); the Blue Mountains Music Festival in Katoomba (18 March); The Cat and Fiddle in Balmain, Sydney (22 March); and concludes with The National Folk Festival, Canberra (24 March).

In the run up to the shows, David's been busy doing interviews and due to the time difference with the UK, has been having to set his alarm for 2am.

Interest in the band has been high, though he says one incident where he overslept very nearly became an X-rated embarrassment.

Fast asleep, David was suddenly awoken by a Skype call from who he thought was a radio station only it wasn't.

"It turned out to be an internet TV station, and I was lying there, in bed, naked!" he cries with horror.

"So was scrambling for my clothes and did the interview in bed, with my hair all sticking up. Gawd knows what they thought!"

Thankfully his camera was pointing at the ceiling, so the TV presenter couldn't quite see the state David was initially in.

Leaving a chilly England, David's looking forward to the trip and reckons he'll see plenty of other UK acts while he's over.

"I'm sure we'll bump into a few other people from England while we're there. I know Nancy Kerr and The Sweet Visitor Band are there and James Fagan is playing with his family, which is a rare thing as he's Australian of course - so that will be very special."

Once they're back in the UK, the band will find out if they'll retain their BBC Radio 2 Folk Award as they are nominated for Best Group for a second year.

David remains grounded at the prospect of another win, recognising it's all relative.

"You've always got to realise that when someone says you're the best group you're not, it'd be ridiculous, you're not really the best."

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Why? They're the UK's hottest folk act.
Where: Victoria, Melbourne, Katoomba, Sydney, Canberra
Cost: Varies
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