Did you know that 2008 Mercury Music Prize nominated The Bairns was the only British folk album to make The Guardian and Uncut’s Albums Of The Decade, compared to Fairport Convention’s Liege And Lief and described as “quite possibly the folk album of this generation?” Here’s The Tender Coming was 2009 Mojo Folk Album of Year, while 2011’s Last was described by Q Magazine as “their best album.. bewitching and hugely ambitious”, and by The Sunday Express as a “gorgeously unhurried, utterly mesmerising masterpiece.” It was their most prolific period.
The Unthanks reissue three classic albums which were originally licensed to EMI on a ten year deal that has now elapsed, giving The Unthanks chance to release them on vinyl for the first time, as well as on A5 square 24 page CD book, both with exclusive new content and forewords conductor Charles Hazelwood, author Nick Hornby and actor Martin Freeman.
“In essence it’s about a raw authenticity, coupled with intensely impressive musical values, taste, imagination, an appetite for risk-taking” writes Hazelwood about Mercury nominated album The Bairns, “and at the centre of it, two utterly ravishing voices. The world is richer with them in it, and The Bairns remains a towering achievement.”
In his foreword about 2009’s Here’s The Tender Coming, Hi-Fidelity author Nick Hornby writes
“Mostly what I loved was the sound of ambition, a band who wants to push their chosen genre as far as it will go without ripping the fabric. The Unthanks’ music is about everything sad, all the losses you have ever felt, all at once. It’s an English blues, with a spiritually redemptive quality that only those who love and honour music would be able to uncover. Here’s The Tender Coming’ is, at the time of writing, nearly fifteen years old, but its beauty will make you ache for the rest of your life. Great music is great music, whatever genre it might once have been.”
Martin Freeman writes about 2011’s album, Last: “No one else really sounds like this band. Which is pretty rare. The title track (of Last) by McNally, is a wonderful example of something that sounds like it wasn’t written but just appeared. On first hearing you think you must have heard it before, that it always existed, but you can’t put your finger on it. It’s playful and profound, a hymn to us all getting our mess together and getting on with the business of being alive. A beautiful, unsettling, wildly romantic record.”
Released Friday 15th Sept 2023 on RabbleRouser Music, all three albums are available on:
Club 500 Edition Limited Edition CD Book, A5 square with 24 pages, lyrics, new foreword, original sleeve notes and extra images.
180g double vinyl with 12 page booklet, lyrics, new foreword, original sleeve notes and extra images.
Standard CD (no lyrics or sleeve notes).
The Unthanks All Dayers
Performing all three albums in one day, each The Unthanks All Dayer will begin with a midday Big Sing on each concourse, followed by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset reformed with Stef Conner to perform The Bairns, and The Unthanks playing Last and Here’s The Tender Coming in the evening, plus special guests and Q&As hosted by Martin Green (Lau) in Gateshead, Elizabeth Alker (BBC 6 Music and Radio 3) in London and Emily Staveley Taylor (The Staves) in Cardiff. After performing all three albums at The Sage Gateshead, the band will be whisked through the night on a sleeper bus to do it all again at the Barbican London the following day. Adding to the retrospective celebration of these classic records, original support acts on those album tours, Devon Sprouleand Lucy Farrell are special guests in London and Gateshead. Tickets are available below.
Artists’ website: https://www.the-unthanks.com/
‘Here’s The Tender Coming’ – live: