Chris Leslie of Fairport Convention Releases Origins

Chris Leslie of Fairport Convention Releases OriginsWhen Paul Johnson and Darren Beech of Folking interviewed Chris Leslie at the 2008 Cropredy festival, Fairport Convention’s main songwriter and multi-instrumentalist joked that the festival site Oxfordshire is the center of the universe.

As the saying goes, many a truth is said in jest. So it may well be in this instance. Leslie’s traveled a long way, literally and figuratively, since he was a young, self-taught fiddler in Banbury, dreaming of joining Fairport. And while he’s won acclaim for his work with the band and his mastery of an array of other musical genres, it’s clear his allegiance is to the Fairport-styled Folk that captured his youthful heart. Indeed, Oxfordshire remains the center of his universe.

Doubters need only listen to Origins, Leslie’s just-released solo album, for confirmation.

It’s almost unnecessary to say that Leslie’s musicianship and vocals are as strong as at any time in his career. Anyone who follows Fairport or Leslie’s side projects — Feast of Fiddles and St. Agnes Fountain — know that’s obvious.

But it’s even clearer here because Leslie supplies all vocals and instrumentation as he moves gracefully from traditional folk (Sandy Denny’s “Sweet Rosemary,”) to country-flavored rock (Michael Martin Murphey’s “Geronimo’s Cadillac,”) to pure Native American music (his own “Tipis in the Snow”) on the 13-track album. And stand-out track “Lost Bird,” is just pure beauty.

It must be tempting for the multi-instrumentalist to make his arrangements complex, but Leslie’s fans know he always leans toward keeping his sound pure though a close listen will reveal its sophisticated intricacy. The Beach Boys’ songs come to mind for comparison (though the artist himself would certainly disagree with any comparison of his work to the legendary Brian Wilson just as he does with comparisons to Fairport’s past songwriters including Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick).

Fans of Leslie’s last two solo albums ­­–– The Flow and Dancing Days — will find the same sophisticated yet accessible music on this album and likely trace the mastery of many of these songs back to their Origins.

What’s different here, though, is that Leslie really lets his listeners hear him soar on these songs, half of which he wrote himself.

The result is a sophisticated musical tapestry that explores multiple facets of the “Origins” of the artist and all of mankind.

In less capable and cultured hands, the album could easily be the musical poster child for multiple musical personalities.

But under Leslie’s masterful artistry, the album can only be described as an enchanting and often spellbinding tour de force.

Find out more about Chris Leslie and order Origins on his website.

NANCY DUNHAM / @NancyDWrites

ColvinQuarmby CQV is reviewed by the folkmaster…

The new ColvinQuarmby album has now descended from CQ towers, and is heralding in, by a fab twelve page booklet containing of all Gerry Colvin  lyrics which are wrapped, in bright shiny, cherub packaging (beam me up Scotty).

In our opinion, we believe that CQV can sit proudly alongside the body of work that ColvinQuarmby have produced to date. This recording is enhanced by Allen Maslen and Marion Fleetwood involvement, both of which have made a noticeable contribution to the new line-up, joining the Nick Quarmby, Gerry Colvin and Martin Fitzgibbon fold (baa…)

CQV is their first album in 8 years and although the word play is as razor-sharp as ever, they have still have a little way to go to recreate, the CQ live experience on record but in truth, perhaps they never will as, seeing CQ in the flesh, with all the banter, is seeing the true measure of the band.

As you would expect from CQ, the tracks on CQV are a right old of mix of material, focusing on the political, social and relationship story songs that are Colvin’s trade mark. My personal favourites were: Broken man, The Gods Don’t Work, Dirt, South London Gang and the live favourite, Dylan Thomas’ Pen.

So in short, Gerry Colvin  has, once again written some brilliant new songs, which the band recorded at Blue Moon Studios in Banbury Oxfordshire where just about anybody who used to be, and in some cases still is, somebody, in the world of folk music have recorded. These include Fairport Convention, Kieran Halpin, Maddy Prior, Ade Edmonson and The Bad Shepards, Julie Felix to name a few. We understand that, CQV has taken a total of 220 studio hours and over two years from the start of recording to complete. Darren Beech

Here’s what Blue Moons owner/engineer Mark Lee had to say about his involvement with CQV

“Cq are without doubt one of my favourite bands to record. With such great songs and arrangements, fantastic singing and great playing it was always a real pleasure for me to press the record “GO” button. I truly wish the band every deserved success with what I consider to be a great album. An absolutely brilliant band. A world-class act in my opinion”

SOCIETY… SONGS FROM THE BRICKHOUSE

“In my opinion this is the best Americana album to come out this year”… Darren Beech www.folking.com

Society are a three piece country rock band from West Sussex who specialise in gorgeous three part harmonies that set them apart from the current crop of Americana or West Coast rock wanabees in the UK. Society comprise of guitarist Matt Wise, bassist Ben Lancaster and on all things percussive F.Scott Kenny. Their recorded and live sound has echoes of C.S.N.Y, The Band, The Heartbreakers, The Jayhawks and the late great Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance. Matt Wise composes most if not all of their material and when all three sing in harmony the result is simply stunning.

Since forming in 2004 Society have supported many great visiting artistes when they toured the UK, opening for notable musicians and performers such as Eve Selis, Deadstring Brothers, Corb Lund, Luke Doucet and The Wailin’ Jennys. Apart from their own UK headline shows, Society have completed two tours of Canada along with a string of dates in the American mid-west gaining a whole new legion of fans in the USA. This constant touring has honed both their musical and vocal chops and in the winter of 2008 Society left their disused stable that served as their rehearsal space and spent time at The Brickhouse Studios near Brighton recording their debut release entitled SONGS FROM THE BRICKHOUSE

The album is a collection of eleven original songs from the pen of Matt Wise and arranged by all three band members. Guest musicians helping out on the recording included Spencer Cullum, a member of the Deadstring Brothers who is one of the foremost young pedal steel players around today, Dave Berliner and James Batchelar on keyboards and the glorious violin of the classically trained musician Sarah Gonputh. The songs on the album echo their love of all things West Coast, Laurel Canyon and the great country rock music of the mid seventies yet bringing their sound right up to date with a distinct indie feel.

2010 will see Society broadening their horizons with live shows and festival appearances already booked in the UK and many new dates to be confirmed.

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