I’ll get straight to the point. Rosie Hodgson’s Rise Aurora is an absolute gem of an album and I will probably not be the first reviewer to say you will want to listen to it over and over again. It’s full of beautiful music with seven of the twelve tracks being written by Rosie herself and the rest being either traditional folk songs or works by Burns and Kipling.
Rosie Hodgson released an EP Somewhere North in 2012 and was a finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2013 but is probably best know as the lead singer with Crossharbour who are a London based Irish band, even though she comes from West Sussex and is a Morris dancer. On this album she teams up with Rowan Piggott, an Irish fiddle player who is also classically trained and a chorister. From that you can assume that quality is going to be core to the music and you would not be mistaken.
Rosie’s songs revolve around ordinary individuals, which is what folk music is about, and two of them relate to her own family. The title track ‘Aurora Rising’ is based around her Grandfather’s home town of Cromer in Norfolk. Fishing was the main industry with all the hardships and dangers that brings, not least for the families left ashore hoping the men will come back again.
On an album this good it’s difficult to pick the stand out tracks but ‘Hetty’s Waltz’ deserves mention. This is a song for Rosie’s Grandma and Grandfather who fell in love on a bus and enjoyed dancing all their lives. It’s beautiful and showcases both Rosie’s crystal clear voice and Rowan’s delicate accompaniment. Both artists have good voices and are more than capable of singing a capella, as they show on a excellent arrangement of Robbie Burn’s ‘Westlin Winds’.
The album is well produced and Rosie’s precise enunciation means there is no need for the lyrics to be written down. Instead the background to each song is given, again following that folk tradition of explaining why a song exists.
Final mention must go to the last song, ‘Liverpool Lullaby’, written by Rosie when she was just fourteen. What’s remarkable about that, apart from it being another beautiful song, is that is now ten years old. Rosie is only twenty-four! There is a very long and bright future dawning.
The album was released on December 1st and is available through the artist’s website as either a CD or download.
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Artist’s website: http://www.rosiehodgson.com/
‘Rise Aurora’ – live: