Hawk to the Hunting Gone – YOU ARE WOLF
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You Are Wolf (aka Kerry Andrew) explores English and American folk music, fusing source material with leftfield pop, gentle touches of electronica and a hint of spoken-word, all melded with an array of wild vocal techniques. Debut album Hawk to the Hunting Gone (produced by MaJiKer) was made with the backing of the PRS Foundation for Music’s Women Make Music scheme, which allowed Kerry to developed a set of songs based around British birds in folklore (or “birdlore,” if you will) that provides the backbone of this very unique record. Six of the album’s 10 tracks are adapted in part or in whole from traditional British folk songs, but You Are Wolf’s approach to arranging the material is anything but traditional. That said, leading roots music magazine fRoots, ever forward-thinking, are already championing the record with a feature on Kerry (penned by wyrd-folk connoisseur Jeanette Leech), set to appear in the May 2014 issue with an album track appearing on the accompanying downloadable playlist. Standout track “Doves” fuses “When Doves Cry” by ’80s US pop legend Prince with the traditional song “Turtle Dove” and features fellow folk maverick Alasdair Roberts on guest vocals, while “The Buzzard’s Heart” takes the poem “Answers” by TS Eliot Prize nominee Robin Robertson and sets it to music. Kerry’s music has been played on BBC Radio 6 Music by Tom Robinson, Gideon Coe and Stuart Maconie, Radio 3’s Late Junction and New York’s premier indie radio station WFUV. She has appeared twice on BBC Radio […]

Anointed Queen – FIREFAY & ALISON O’DONNELL
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Alison O’Donnell will be familiar to folk (and rare vinyl) fans the world over as founding member of Irish prog-folk band Mellow Candle, whose only album (the 1972 classic Swaddling Songs) now fetches upwards of £1000 on the rare occasions an original copy comes up for sale on eBay. Here she teams up with London-based “folk noir” outfit Firefay for an album of dark folk beauty. At the core of Firefay are Adam and Carole Bulewksi — Carole’s French heritage occasionally lending a klezmer/gypsy-folk tone to the instrumentation that sits well with Alison’s naturally psych-tinged melodies, while Adam’s minimal, considered production melds everything together beautifully. Across the album’s 11 tracks, Firefay support O’Donnell’s soaring vocals in stark fashion, providing the perfect accompaniment which is never intrusive or busy for the sake of it, always allowing Alison’s crystalline tone and astonishing range (and the evocative lyrics of both Alison and Carole) to shine through. Alison made something of a resurgence during the “acid-folk revival” of the mid-2000s collaborating with Circulus, The Owl Service and later Ireland’s Agitated Radio Pilot and United Bible Studies on various live and studio projects, appearing on Cathedral‘s The Guessing Game album, and making two wonderful records under her own name along the way (Mise Igus Ise [2006] and Hey Hey Hippy Witch [2011]). Alison’s thirst for treading new and interesting musical pastures, and her youthful exuberance, belie the fact that she has a 40+ year career in the music industry behind her. Mellow Candle was formed […]

Hirta Songs – ROBERTS & ROBIN ROBERTSON, ALASDAIR
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Stone Tape Recordings presents the eighth studio album from Alasdair Roberts. A collaboration with Scottish poet Robin Robertson (who provided the words that Roberts set to music), Hirta Songs is a concept album of sorts, inspired by the people, landscape, and history of the remote Scottish archipelago of St. Kilda. The seed of the record lies in Robertson’s 2007 visit to the islands which he cites as one of the most extraordinary experiences of his life. Upon returning home he wrote the long poem “Leaving St. Kilda,” but he knew that the islands weren’t finished with him and, six years later, Hirta Songs is the result of his continued engagement. Much of the album sits in familiar Alasdair Roberts territory; exquisite contemporary folksong with a traditional slant which has Alasdair’s distinctive voice and deft guitar-picking at the forefront, but the weight of Robertson’s words adds a new dimension, and the fascinating stories behind the music make for quite a journey. Several of the album’s 10 songs are informed by Roberts’ recent explorations into Scottish Gaelic music, a natural progression from his collaboration with Gaelic singer Mairi Morrison, Urstan (Drag City, 2012). The supporting cast includes regular members of Alasdair’s live and studio ensembles Tom Crossley, Rafe Fitzpatrick, and Stevie Jones, as well as Robin Williamson (of The Incredible String Band) and acclaimed harpist Corrina Hewat. 01 – A Fall of Sleet 02 – Farewell to the Fowler 03 – Laoidh Fhionnlaigh Oig 04 – The White-Handled Knife 05 – The […]

Garland Sessions – THE OWL SERVICE
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Garland Sessions is a reworked version of the debut album by Essex-based alt-folk collective The Owl Service, featuring outtakes of all 13 songs from the original Garland of Song album tweaked, remixed, re-recorded and remastered. It also contains an additional five tracks which the band worked on at the same time as the debut but which only saw the light on various short-run releases, plus one all-new recording. A Garland of Song was originally released on the band’s own Hobby-Horse label in 2007 as a limited handmade CD-R and soon after it was picked up by Southern Records for a worldwide release, quickly establishing The Owl Service as key players in the folk revival of the last decade. They once again set up on their own for the second full-length release A View from a Hill (Rif Mountain 2010), an album which eschewed the lo-fi garage-folk sound of its predecessor in favor of a more sombre, earnest approach — it won them many new fans and much critical acclaim. Garland Sessions takes the nucleus of the original record and delivers a more rounded end-product more in tune with the sound of the second album. The Owls disbanded at the start of 2012, making this their final release, and bringing the story full circle. 01 – Folk Revival (A Garland of Song) – 02:18 02 – The Rolling of the Stones – 03:04 03 – The Bear Ghost – 04:43 04 – Hoodening – 01:36 05 – A Child’s Calendar – […]