Monday, October 15, 2018

New Music 2018 - Part 28 - The Willows - Through The Wild

The prospect of another rather autumnal weekend and the fact that the outdoor festival season has well and truly ended, was leavened this morning by the arrival of a CD in the post. It has been on rotation, every other listen with others, since. Awaited by me for quite some while it is the latest from folk five-piece The Willows and the first release since Prue Ward left for pastures new and was replaced on fiddle by Katriona Gilmore.

The Willows - Through The Wild (Elk Records, ELK014, 30 November 2018).

Ten songs and a tune (Ernest Durham's), which all are original except for the traditional True Lovers' Ferry that is from the waterways of London. The majority of the new songs are of the narrative variety, something at which the band excels.
One of the
 standout songs on their previous LP 'Amidst Fiery Skies' (2014) was in my opinion 'The Visitor', which is about the heroic rescue of the victims of a 19th century shipwreck of a vessel of that name. If you like that record then I imagine that this might be to your taste too.  All five members contribute vocals and harmony but the those of lead Rhiannon Jade are both instantly recognisable and soothing, something that I noticed the first time I saw The Willows playing live, at Cambridge Folk Festival 2015. Here as then the musicianship is amazing and guest John Parker adds the always-welcome upright bass on many tracks. A triumph of acoustic loveliness, in the finest sense of those words.

The Willows - Through The Wild:
  • Coda
  • Better Days
  • True Lovers' Ferry
  • Perfect Crime/Ernest Durham's
  • Honest Man
  • Pearl Hart
  • Out of Our Hands
  • False Light
  • Gog Magog
  • Dear Lilly
Gog Magog touches on a very old legend of giants - the Gog Magog Hills south east of Cambridge being the legacy of that interaction.

Somewhat similar tales infuse other UK folk songs. One that comes to mind is that in which two giants and brothers, Vincent and Goram, both fell in love with a Wiltshire lass called Avona. In a competition she instructed them to drain a lake...
Goram started from the north but, due to excessive consumption of liquor or so the tale goes, fell asleep. Vincent, spotting an opportunity to trump his brother then completed what is now the Avon Gorge, won the challenge and thus the hand of Avona. When he awoke, and
 realising his folly, Goram hurled himself into the Bristol Channel.
The side of his head and one shoulder remain above water to this day as the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm. Interestingly, both the stories possibly have Viking connections; holm is a Viking word meaning 'island' and the Vikings certainly ravaged the east of England for much of what we now call The Dark Ages before becoming more adventurous and raiding what is now the west of England, much of Wales and also the east coast of Ireland.

In whatever light you chose to listen to it this is a great release and I can't wait to see The Willows perform it live in the near future.

Monday, October 01, 2018

New Music 2018 - Part 27 - Sinnober - Projection

'Projection' is the brand new release by duo Sinnober based in Frome, Somerset. It follows their 2016 release 'Little Wars'.

Sinnober - Projection (self-released,  1 October 2018).

One hundred physical albums with a full lyric booklet are available, on CD here, to those that would like such a thing and the track list is below.

Sinnober - Projection:
  • Angels of Fire and Snow 
  • No Regrets 
  • True North 
  • When A Knight Won His Spurs
  • Garbo's Song 
  • Successful
  • I Don't Wanna Read The News
  • Alexandra Leaving
Just in case you were wondering, you really do need to see Sinnober live. Here they are playing the acoustic stage at a new festival back at the start of this summer.
Sinnober, Acoustic stage, Beardy Folk Festival, 23 June 2018.