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Jon Boden, former frontman of progressive folk eleven-piece Bellowhead releases first studio album since calling an end to the folk supergroup, a 12-year project that culminated in a quarter of a million album sales and worldwide sell-out shows including the Royal Albert Hall. Afterglow follows on from Boden's 2009 solo concept-album ‘Songs From The Floodplain’ which lead him to be named as Folk Singer Of The Year at the BBC Folk Awards. Whereas Floodplain largely dealt with the rural setting, Afterglow looks to juxtapose this and immerse the listener within a post-apocalyptic street carnival – a location of decaying buildings, burning oil drums and homemade fireworks, in which Boden tells the story of two lovers trying to find one another. Speaking about the album concept, Boden says: “Like my previous album Songs From The Floodplain, Afterglow imagines a near-future world where the luxuries and comfort of 21st century life have become scarce, and a harder, simpler existence now prevails. Afterglow is the story of a couple who are trying to find each other in the middle of a bonfire-night street carnival in a crumbling, derelict city. I had a wonderful time recording it in Sheffield with the help of my band the Remnant Kings and Andy Bell in the producer's chair.”
‘dark and brilliantly off-centre’
"it confirms Jon Boden as one of the most interesting and exciting British singers and arrangers currently working."
The song that gives the album its name is also its first. And, unaccompanied with seamless harmonies, it’s a portent to what lies ahead. Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp’s voices are clear and well matched, a vigorous call to arms to the poacher’s lot. Though Laura and Ted favour the lesser known, and often from their native regions of the North West and East Anglia, there are popular choices here, too – but their thoughtful approaches mean that the listener is offered something new. As tobe expected from two librarians, one of whom is also Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, liner notes are comprehensive, with song choices fully explained: the version selected, the additions and deletions made. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Ian Carter of Stick In The Wheel, a band known for their straight-up approach to tradition, The Poacher’s Fate is a record that will strike the listener for its passionate connection with the source material and its robust, full-blooded approach.
"In our opinion, one of the best traditional British folk albums of 2017."
This sparklingly fresh album features twelve startlingly original versions of traditional songs. With a radiant interpretation of traditional folk, Lisa merges fiddle, hammer dulcimer and strings, with birdsong and sonic delights from the technological age. 'May Garland', which Lisa found at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, reminds us – 'a man a man, his lifes' a span, he flourishes like a flower, he's here today and gone tomorrow, he's gone all in an hour' - that in the midst of celebration, there are limits on our time. Lisa is joined by another ground-breaking folk singer, Mary Hampton on 'Bedfordshire May Carol'. Lisa's version of the title track, 'Til April is Dead/Hal-An-Tow' was inspired by the Mystery Play in Helston, Cornwall. Originally printed as 'The Maypole Song' in 1656, 'Staines Morris' has a melody with a courtly, theatrical sound and this version features the lively and mischievous vocals of David Tibet. In 'Searching for Lambs' - a song Lisa first heard sung by Shirley Collins - she is joined by Graham Coxon. Both Lisa and Graham have performed with Shirley and here he lends his vocals and guitar to this English folksong gem.
"An album overflowing with warmth, light and waywardness."
"A masterful creation"
East London five piece band Stick in the Wheel are headed by singer Nicola Kearey, and guitarist/producer Ian Carter. Their debut “From Here”(2015) was fRoots magazine Album of the Year and a MOJO Folk Album of the Year, with four BBC Folk Award nominations since their inception in 2013. They are known for Kearey’s fierce delivery, culturally and politically switched on, the group have been widely commended for their timely appraisal of English Folk, and their skill in telling stories through song that reconnect modern audiences to the past - drawing unexpected parallels between then and now.
Their second album 'Follow Them True' examines Rituals and Cycles; how we have the power to change ourselves and the world around us, the past repeating itself, ghosts and death, land and place, thieves and beggars. It continues to question the notion of what folk music is, and what it means in 2018. The new album uses a broader sonic palette than previously and there is no-one else pushing the boundaries of this music in quite the way Stick in the Wheel are.
“Britain’s most exciting new folk band take even more radical risks on their second LP”
"Stick In The Wheel rip apart the preconceptions surrounding folk music and retrieve the tender, beating heart at the centre of so much traditional culture."
“A shot in the arm for contemporary folk music”