Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey.

This is that long-promised virtual road-trip.

In the light of recent developments, social, political and criminal and on both sides of the Atlantic it isn't a planned journey, made through choice. It is more a consideration of emigration, immigration or simply migration. The driving forces that control these movements are not always the same. War, poverty and such are drivers of emigration. Then there is the voluntary kind: The fabled pot of gold (sometimes literally, as in the various gold-rushes) can lead folk to leave modest, yet fairly safe, circumstances for much more dangerously insecure ones and sometimes within the same country. There is also the more subtle issues of identity, belief and belonging.
The really odd thing about the way certain countries are behaving just now is that they are precisely the same ones that, throughout their histories, have benefited the most from these processes.

I'm going to try and write "live-in-process" over the next 24 hours. The reason for that is that this way I hope that I won't overthink it and will actually get it finished. The down-side might be that it doesn't flow smoothly from start to end. Most real migration journeys don't either.

It is appropriate to start with the artist whose album gives this post its title.  It is taken from a proverb in her native Haiti - a country that has had, since time immemorial, the worst of luck on almost any humanitarian measure. She now lives in New Orleans.

Leyla McCalla - A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey (Jazz Village, 27 May 2016).

This is the title track from that LP.

This next act comprises Clayton Linthicum and Kacy Anderson, cousins from southern Saskatchewan, that form the acoustic duo Kacy and Clayton. They play music that has influences derived from both southern Appalachian tradition as well as that of the UK.

Kacy & Clayton - Strange Country (New West Records, 6 May 2016).

The song that I have chosen is 'Seven Yellow Gypsies'. It is a demonstration of just how songs travel with people and both evolve and adapt to the new horizons. It is from, to use a biological term, a clade of songs in which a noble lady falls for (one or more) men of lesser standing and leaves her home with him or them when her husband (often referred to as 'Lord' or 'Master') is away on business. The lovers are unrepentant. The outcome for all those complicit in infidelity is fatal. It sometimes involves a duel between the male protagonists. Various versions of this are included in The Child Ballads.
An example, when the lady inveigles her desire, is Matty Groves. Fairport Convention recorded the classic version on 'Liege and Lief' (1969) and Alela Diane covered it (with Alina Hardin) in 2009 (Alela and Alina). I'm thinking that this version is likely late 16th century in origin.

The version by Kacy & Clayton is akin to a (probably 18th century) incarnation in which the woman leaves with a group of (typically seven) travelling entertainers (often referred to as gypsies in the song).
A fine modern UK interpretation is to be found on the 2015 LP 'From Here' by London act Stick In The Wheel.

Eskimeaux is the solo incarnation of Gabrielle Smith, a veteran member of Brooklyn-based collective Epoch, and she is not inclined to traditional strategies. Most artists do not produce the artwork for their LP by embroidering it. This is explained in a song.

O.K. - Eskimeaux (Double Double Whammy, 9 June 2015).

Taken from that LP is this.
The Thunder Answered Back - Violitionist Sessions, Denton, TX, June 2015.

And now this:
Year of The Rabbit EP -Eskimeaux (Double Double Whammy, 15 April 2016).

This journey concludes with two recently released works. The first is actually a collection of songs that the very prolific Darrell Scott wrote as long as fifteen years ago but, until his recent move from Nashville to the relative quietude and countryside of the Cumberland Plateau, he could never complete to his own exacting standards. The result is this and it was surely worth the wait.
Couchville Sessions - Darrell Scott (Full Light Records, 13 May 2016).

The opening track is 'Down To The River' and it's easy to imagine how a move towards rural self-sufficiency helped him to complete the oeuvre.

While that was very much the work of a man, his songs and a guitar the journey ends with a young band that is, in my view at least, rather more interesting than the alt-folk tag that they seem to have been lumbered with.
Dear Misery - Colonial Blue (self released - 17 June 2016).

Colonial Blue is a three-piece from Texas, comprising Stephanie Rice (vocals, songwriting and sometimes an instrument), Jonathan Ward (guitars, etc.) and Corey Chierighino (drums, etc.), and this is their first LP. Do not fret about the title - this is a parting letter to the bad times. It is one good listen and one that, until very recently, was completely unknown to me.

'Break Your Bones' is the rather downbeat introduction to the album.

If you are going to Glastonbury 2016 then stay safe, have a great time, and go listen to as much as possible including acts that you have never even heard of. They will be all around you on the smaller stages. One of them might make your day, but you will definitely make theirs!

Treat everyone you meet exactly as you would wish them to treat you.

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