The Unthanks Announce major UK tour & new studio album for 2015

The Unthanks are excited to unveil details of their most comprehensive UK tour so far – twenty-one live dates in some of the UK’s biggest & best venues which will coincide with the spring 2015 release of their first full new studio album in four years.

Tickets for the spring 2015 tour are on-sale now;  these new live dates will feature a talented 10-piece ensemble and take place in a fine array of beautiful settings right across England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales, including Newcastle City Hall, The Roundhouse (London), Liverpool Philharmonic, Brighton Dome and many more.

Full list of new live shows for spring 2015 is as follows;

21 February                          Southampton – Turner Sims

22 February                          Exeter Corn Exchange

24 February                          Yeovil Octagon Theatre

25 February                          Bristol Colston Hall

26 February                          Cardiff St George’s Hall

27 February                          Nottingham Albert Hall

28 February                          Sheffield City Hall

1 March                                 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

3 March                                 Bury St Edmunds – The Apex

4 March                                 Brighton Dome

5 March                                 Ashford – Revelation St Mary’s

6 March                                 Norwich Open

7 March                                 London – The Roundhouse

8 March                                 Warwick Arts Centre

10 March                               Leeds Irish Centre

11 March                               Manchester The Ritz

12 March                               Dublin TBA

13 March                               Belfast Empire

14 March                               Newcastle City Hall

19 March                               Middlesbrough Town Hall

20 March                               Edinburgh Queens Hall

The Unthanks have been hiding away in Northumberland, quietly working away on an ambitious follow-up to their acclaimed 2011 album ‘Last’.  Over two years in the making and set for release early 2015, who knows how rich, imaginative and groundbreaking this new, as-yet-untitled album will be?

There has, of course, been plenty of incredibly dynamic under-the-radar activity since the release of ‘Last’.  In 2012, The Unthanks released three ‘Diversions’ albums in the space of twelve months – the first a reimagining of the work of both Robert Wyatt & Antony Hegarty; the second an extremely popular orchestral scale work with national champions Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band; and the third a moving soundtrack to a film about the shipbuilding industry.  Other recent work in the past year with artists as diverse as Orbital, Sting, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Martin Green (Lau), Martin Hayes, The Voice Squad, Charles Hazlewood, The Moulettes and German composer Werner Cee, has been so eclectic that making predictions as to what comes next is nigh on impossible.

Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the only British folk representation in The Guardian and Uncut’s ‘Best Albums Of The Last Decade’ (worldwide, all genres), The Unthanks have an army of notable fans, to which they have recently added actor Martin Freeman, who said of the band; “All I can say about The Unthanks is that they make my heart beat faster, or smile a lot, or cry. They mean it. And not in some dreary ‘authentic’ way that feels like a penance for the listener, but just natural. They sing and play what the hell they like, and if you’ve heard nicer harmonies this year, I may call you a liar. I’m glad to be around at the same time as them.”

Martin Freeman now adds himself to a very long list of famous Unthank admirers, which includes Elvis Costello, Colin Firth, Robert Wyatt, Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, Rosanne Cash, members of Portishead and Radiohead, Dawn French, Paul Morley, Ewan McGregor, Stephan Mangan, Al Murray, Ade Edmondson and Nick Hornby.

The Unthanks is a family affair for Tyneside sisters Rachel & Becky Unthank, with Rachel married to pianist, producer, arranger & composer, Adrian McNally.  Using the traditional music of the North East of England as a starting point, the influence of Steve Reich, Miles Davis, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Wyatt, Antony & The Johnsons, King Crimson and Tom Waits can be heard in the band’s seven albums to date.

Definable only by their restless, peerless eccentricity, The Unthanks see folk music less as a style of music and more as an oral history that offers perspective on our own time. Their unique approach to storytelling straddles the complex relationship between modernism and learning from the past.  Staunch traditionalism and sonic adventure may seem like polar opposites, yet they are easy bedfellows in the gentle hands of The Unthanks.

The Unthanks on Facebook


– Uncut : Best Albums Of The Decade

– The Observer : Best Albums Of The Decade

– Mercury Music Prize Nominees (2008)

– Uncut Inaugural Music Award Nominees (2008)

– Mojo : Folk Album of the Year (won twice!)

– Uncut : Top 50 Albums of the Year

– The Guardian Top 50 Albums Of The Year


“The Unthanks seem to regard folk music the same way Miles Davis regarded jazz: as a launch pad for exploring the wider possibilities.” Uncut

I’m glad to be around at the same time as them. They make my heart beat faster.” Martin Freeman

“There really is no better folk band in the land” Q Magazine

‘Intimate, epic, overflowing with feeling and musical intelligence’ The Independent

“If I had to take a single summary of what Alfie and I have being doing over the years to the proverbial desert island, I wouldn’t take one of our own records. I’d take the crystal clear interpretations of The Unthanks.” Robert Wyatt

“Rachel and Becky’s voices are one of the true wonders of 21st-century music” NME

“It hits you in your soul, rather than you head. I love them.” Ade Edmondson

“It is their ability to pare back extraneous matter and to stare unflinchingly into the very soul of a song that makes them a spellbinding experience” BBC Music

“Just beautiful” Lauren Laverne

“Haunting, original and magnificent”  The Guardian

“Music as tough as it is gentle, as ancient as it is modern, and as coldly desolate as it is achingly intimate..  A sensationally graceful sound that can be epic and subdued, dreamy and specific, as well as supernaturally ancient and defiantly modern”. Paul Morley, The Observer


The Unthanks – Last (animated video by Nick Murray Willis)

The Unthanks – Lucky Gilchrist (performed on Later With Jools Holland)

The Unthanks – Great Northern River (video by George Lucas)

The Unthanks – Patience Kershaw (live for The Guardian)

The Unthanks – Queen of Hearts (performed live on Later With Jools Holland)

The Unthanks – Here’s The Tender Coming (live on Later With Jools Holland

The Unthanks – Black Trade (video by George Lucas)

The Unthanks – Shipbuilding (video by George Lucas)      

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