New Video from Lisa Knapp + BBC Folk Awards

Lisa Knapp Hidden Seam

Lisa Knapp first emerged in 2007 with a remarkable debut album, ‘Wild And Undaunted’ and quickly established herself as a highly distinctive, creative artist, merging a radiant style of traditional folk and self-penned song with vocal, fiddle, hammer dulcimer, strings, banjo and contemporary production.

It was a long wait but evidently worth it – the South Londoner’s much anticipated 2nd full length album, Hidden Seam, is finally available from Navigator Records.

Far from idle, Lisa has spent the years between albums exploring her increasing fascination with the elements and our fragile, volatile environment.  Though greatly inspired by husband/musical partner Gerry Diver’s own creative journey with his 2011 ‘Speech Project’ album (music based on the speech patterns of Irish traditional singers), Lisa was equally motivated by a love of language – partly through a meeting with Seamus Heaney but also a healthy obsession with the old English text of Beowulf.

Shipping Song, the album’s opening track, arises from Lisa’s fascination with the Met Office’s somnambulant, poetic late night shipping forecast ; its strange and far-away sounding place names, Utsire, Viking, Fastnet and Lundy. A recording of American Marine sound testing from the 1950s was seamlessly sewn into the track, alongside the sounds of sea creatures and spinning motors.

Black Horse is a song by the great, late English singer/songwriter, Lal Waterson, which Lisa was originally invited to perform on tour with Scottish singer and guitarist James Yorkston. Not only does James guest on this recording but Lisa was also thrilled to be joined by Lal’s daughter, Marry Waterson.  Lisa plucked up courage to invite Martin Carthy, one of her musical heroes, to accompany her on Two Ravens, a touching song about Alzheimers disease. Seagiver is a visceral song of death and the elements. The penultimate track on Hidden Seam, Hunt the Hare Pt 1, features acclaimed Scottish folk musician, Alasdair Roberts and  was originally based on the well known Irish song Rocky Road to Dublin. It evolved into a song about the month of May. On Hushabye, a lullaby style song which she regularly sang to her daughter, Lisa is accompanied by celebrated singer/songwriter, Kathryn Williams.

Hidden Seam is a substantial sonic tapestry. It will swiftly re-establish Lisa Knapp as not only one of the most compelling voices of her generation in British folk music but one of the most innovative.  Her roots may be embedded in the great folk revival of the 50’s and 60’s but with this new album, she is setting sail for unchartered horizons.

Lisa has also been nominated in 3 categories for the upcoming BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards: Folk Singer Of The Year, Best Album and Best Non-Traditional Track for Two Ravens (which Martin Carthy played on).

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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New OYSTERBAND album: Diamonds On The Water – Navigator Records – February 17th 2014

DiamondsRagged Kingdom, Oysterband’s reunion collaboration, with the English folk legend June Tabor, was fROOTS Critics’ Poll Album of the Year, Mojo Folk Album of the Year, won three BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and saw the group featured on Later… With Jools (BBC2 TV).

After two years touring that project, Oysterband is now very happy to announce a new studio Oysterband album, DIAMONDS ON THE WATER, to be released on 17 February 2014  –  their first new collection of original songs in seven years.

“It was time”, says fiddler Ian Telfer, “to get back to some of the other things we do best  –  make new music and get out there on the road.”  And in fact they will be touring full-on in UK through February and March 2014.

Singer John Jones took time from the studio to talk here about the new album:

“After Ragged Kingdom, which was a kind of re-immersion in traditional song”, he says, “it seemed so important to us to get back to working on our song-writing skills in the light of that.  We’ve loved every bit of the collaborative projects  –  which include the Big Session Festival too, of course  –  but the writing is a vital part of our growth and continuity as a band.  And if we can give a little back to the folk tradition, so much the better”.

These are the first Oysterband recordings since the departure of Ray “Chopper” Cooper to pursue a solo career. Al Scott, the band’s long-time producer, has stepped in on bass and mandolin, and, says John, “with the power and inventiveness of Dil [Davies]’s drumming, our sound has become simpler and punchier, as it was in the early days.  Over a summer of great festivals, including Glastonbury, we stripped the sound down and went for it, with Al and Ian singing more to support guitarist Alan Prosser’s backing vocals.  We all had to dig deep to make something new.  And it has had a great reaction”.

“The song-writing has certainly begun to flow.  We’re searching as usual for uplift in the melodies and insight in the words… and there’s maybe an element of the autobiographical this time round. The writing has had the effect of throwing Alan, Ian and myself back together again as the main creative focus of the group. Not an easy thing when, after so many years, the cushioning and supportive mortar of Chopper and June is taken away from between three sharp‐edged stones! Thankfully there was little sound of grinding – we do understand where each other’s songs come from”.

Oysterband1“As usual we recorded in Brighton, where we can draw on the skills of many friends, quite an impressive bunch actually” – including Adrian Oxaal, “a Brighton mate”, former lead guitarist with the band James, but also a fine cellist.  Adrian will be appearing on the album tours.  Rowan Godel, who often sings on John’s ‘walking tours’, came in and added “an emotional vulnerability” to some songs as well as “an uninhibited quality when she soars”.  Lindsey Oliver played double bass “to give us that warmth and swing at the bottom end”.  Ex-Oysterband drummer Lee Partis even dropped in and added his distinctive high harmonies to a couple of tracks, and Pete Davison (trumpet), Eira Owen (French horn) and Sarah Leeves (euphonium) contributed splashes of brass.

What has emerged with these new recordings is a feeling of warmth, both musical and personal, that makes the songs come alive.  “We had sessions where we all just gathered around two microphones. It has a wonderful sound and this ‘choir’ of varied voices has become an essential part of the album.”

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist web link: www.oysterband.co.uk

TREACHEROUS ORCHESTRA – Origins (Navigator Records NAVIGATOR062)

Now, that’s more like it…an album that is driven by pure energy! Rather than hide behind the word ‘art’ as some form of defence the Treacherous Orchestra totter dangerously close to the edge without ever once falling off the precipice. With the colours of their Scottish roots proudly nailed to the mast the second track prepares the listener for a Celtic onslaught not unlike the battle cry of Robert Wallace about ready to do battle with the X-Box generation. The brooding power chords drone and fiddle melody of “March Of The Troutsmen” makes you rock with it’s pumping crescendo leading you into the pipes driven “Sheepskins Beeswax/Taybank Shenanigans/Superfly”. Unfortunately I wonder if it was a wise choice of segue between the minor/major key change on the first and second tune in the set which proves a little too much of a shock for lesser souls like me but then again you can’t put a good tune down and, after all it’s only a matter of taste. With a ‘Glasgow Kiss’ (musically speaking) that would make anyone with a Scottish heritage proud the band features (amongst others) the pipes of Ross Ainslie and Eamonn Coyne’s banjo and credentials that would make other groups green with envy. Rather like an all-instrumental Scottish eleven-piece version of Bellowhead I’m sure the orchestra are as flamboyant as their name suggests and I for one can’t wait to see them performing live.

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist Web link: www.treacherousorchestra.com