ABBIE LATHE & THE LOVELIES – Stargazing (Curlew Records CD001)

I’ve been enraptured by the sounds of tight, close harmonies since I first saw Steeleye Span many years ago and there are plenty featured on this album. Abbie Lathe the engaging front-person of The Lovelies along with the other members of the group Claudia Gibson (piano), Colin Fletcher (acoustic bass guitar) and Jane Griffiths (violin/viola) utilise a colourful and interesting choice of songs that is outstandingly refreshing to these jaded old ‘folk’ ears of mine. The elements of jazz make for a satisfying change as the vocal structures sumptuously envelope the listener in a warm, soft blanket of audio pleasure. As well as employing the songs of established artists including Kate Bush’s “Army Dreamers” (which I a haven’t heard since the sadly departed Viva Smith’s version a few years ago) Anne Lister’s “The Moth” and the traditional “Mingulay Boat Song” it is the band’s own self-penned material that proves the real foundation. All four musicians contribute and should be justifiably proud of their song-writing and arranging skills. If you’re looking for something a little different to broaden your conceptions of what ‘folk’ music is all about then you could do worse than use this album as a starting point.  


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