Monday, November 20, 2017

New Music 2017 - Part 34 - The Delta Bell - Hold Fast the Fire

The Delta Bell is the work of Brighton-based musician and song writer Kate Gerrard; performing solo or as in the case of this, her second full-length, with a full band.

  • Kate Gerrard - vocals, guitar, hammond
  • Beth Chesser - backing vocals, keyboard, piano
  • Andrew Blake - guitar
  • James Bandenburg - bass, harmonica
  • Bob Baker - drums
  • Mark Jesson - cello
  • Sophie Jesson - violin
 The first Delta Bell LP was 'Bow Out Of The Fading Light' in 2015 and I wrote about that here.

Hold Fast the Fire - The Delta Bell (Random Acts Of Vinyl, 27 October 2017).

Hold Fast the Fire - The Delta Bell
  • Berlin 
  • Lonesome Song
  • Little Girl Lost
  • Rain On Love
  • Catacombs
  • Modern City
  • Golden
  • Killing Heart
  • Ride Out
  • These Days
Some albums are immediate in their appeal and although I liked it from the start it is not exactly one that I would describe in that way. For the 'shuffle playlist' generation this will likely not be a big deal unless something snags your ear, resulting in a kind of musical emergency brake application.
I hardly ever listen to music on shuffle.  That is why I am only writing about it almost a month after its release, despite the fact that I had pre-ordered it on vinyl several months before release.  Immediacy and longevity are certainly not two mutually exclusive sides of a coin but neither are they to be conflated. I would suggest that the very title of the record indicates the side of this divide it was intended to inhabit.
It takes some growing into. That's not to say that is an effort, less a burden, but it takes time none the less. The lyric of 'Modern City' seems to sum that for me and the repetition of them heightens that further.
A similar construct straddles its shapes of isolation and inclusion:

'I pulled up my roots and hang from the branch'
...from opening track 'Berlin' doesn't seem hopeful on the face of it but things work themselves out in one way or another. It's a recording that really requires your attention, almost certainly best alone and with coffee and some cake, played end-to-end before if gets to you. You'll know when it does. It's actually very reassuring.
Not may artists write albums that require this singular level of attention any more. You might, like I am, looking to find more somewhat like it.

The Delta Bell is also a fine live act, be it Kate playing solo or any combination of musicians beyond that.

The Delta Bell - Saloon Bar stage, Truck Festival, 16 July 2016.

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