Somerset based young folk duo The Drystones have just recorded their third album entitled We Happy Few. Ford Collier and Alex Garden started performing when they were just fifteen. Six years on they have notched up performances at festivals and concerts including Glastonbury (where in 2013 they were Steve Lamacq’s “recommendation of the day”), Sidmouth Folk Week, and have supported Steeleye Span, Seth Lakeman, The Shires and Ray Davies. They were also Larmer Tree’s 2015 Breakthrough Music Award winners, and are now represented by Alan Bearman Music. All this whilst finding time to complete A levels and their degree courses in Music (Ford at Sheffield and Alex at Southampton)
Their first album The Album, Or What You Will was produced whilst they were only 16 and was made album of the week on BBC Somerset’s Emma Britton show. Their second album A Tale Of Sound And Fury financed by crowd funding was a more ambitious affair working with Will Lang as producer and Tom Wright as Engineer. This third album We Happy Few was again crowd funded and produced by Will Lang (known for his collaborations, Nitin Sawhney, PBS6, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Halsway Manor, has had airplay on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 6Music) and this time was recorded by Julian Batten at the Loft Music studios in Newcastle (Julian has worked with KAN, Kathryn Tickell, Bella Hardy and The Elephant Sessions).
Once more the album title is taken from Shakespeare (Henry V AI, SIII), but chosen to reflect the tone of the album being as Ford says “much cheerier!” than the last album. We Happy Few includes a mix of their own compositions, arrangements of traditional and current folk tunes, mostly instrumental but with three songs. Their cover of Martin Carthy’s reinterpretation of ‘My Son John’ is perhaps the darkest track on the album, but buzzes with energy and includes performances on tabla, kanjira and electric guitar as wells as vocals from both Ford and Alex.
They both feel that throughout the album they have been able to bring a lot of new influences from their time at University, as well as a new found confidence. You might be surprised to find Purcell alongside the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, but Ford and Alex have brought to the album their sense of fun that is always evident in their live shows. So although their style is unmistakable the album keeps surprising on you with its twists and turns.
We Happy Few is officially released on June 30th. The Drystones are playing festivals and clubs around the country this summer.
Artists’ website: http://www.thedrystones.co.uk
‘My Son John’ – live: