Fly Yeti Fly’s Make A Ring is a beautiful folk album that, to quote Emily Dickinson, is filled with “only Gossamer, my Gown – My Tippet – only Tulle”. And, like Emily’s poem, Because I Could Not Stop For Death, this album shivers, and knows “no haste”.
Great folk music, like great poetry, taps into eternity. As my friend, Kilda Defnut always says, “A happy barn dance is always equal to any constellations of the stars”.
But first: Fly Yeti Fly is a duo based in Wiltshire, and this second album, Make A Ring, was recorded in a houseboat, where the music was both paused and graced with “interrupting swans”. Indeed, as William Wordsworth said (changing the verb tense!), “To be young is very heaven”.
But to the music: ‘Start Listening’ begins with acoustic guitar and Lorna Somerville’s river-current voice, until fellow Fly Yeti Fly guy Darren Fisher joins in harmony. And then the tune quickens its web spinning with an up-temp guitar bit as the song blossoms into a big feather fluted bed. Then, ‘Blue Yonder’ gives Darren a vocal country dance floor spin with a mandolin pulse. And ‘Lost On The Wheel’ also glances at Appalachian folk pulsed harmonies. But, in fairness, this album gives only a casual nod to Americana roots music. To quote John Lennon, this album pretty much is “Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun”.
Case in point (and oh my!): ‘Firewood’ is, quite simply, brilliant dual-voiced British aged wood smoke folk music – with a tragic tale to tell! It’s a bit of a superlative, but all the greats like Mr. Fox and Robin and Barry Dransfield come to mind.
But to the music, again: ‘Dreamer’ is an acoustic-voiced and blessed song that stops time and mimics the natural grace of the “interrupting swans”. Those of us who still purchase all those 70’s Kissing Spell CD releases long to hear a song like this. And then Darren takes the lead vocal for ‘A Simple Idea’ as a violin, mandolin, and a harmonica pump melodic air into the song. And it all conjures the sound of (the great) Magna Carta, circa Songs From Wasties Orchard. Big complement, there. ‘Entwined’ stays on a melodic folky course. And, yeah, Lorna’s vocals do touch the sacred soul of Natalie Merchant. That’s another complement.
Oh my (again)! ‘Heads Above Water’ is another blessed tune that tumbles, with an aged melody, into the very modern houseboat Wiltshire world. Folk music, sometimes, manages a pretty decent prayer. And it’s just a personal preference, but Lorna and Darren’s woven vocal braid, once again, conjures Wordsworth’s “heaven”. The same is true for the very beautiful ‘See You On The Other Side’, a song that holds William Blake’s “Infinity’ that’s “in the palm of your hand”, and gets philosophical in a lovely melodic way.
And ditto for ‘Honeybee’. It’s just an idea, but this music can well appeal to the fans of mega band, Fleetwood Mac, in their sort of spooky Stevie Nicks’ ‘Rhiannon’ mode – without the big production glitz– but with simmering violin and cello drama.
The album condenses into the brilliant song, ‘Stay Humble’. Again, the music colours the folk grooves with a simple guitar and voiced melody. Yet, this music sings the praises of a much greater idea. Indeed, “Listen to the wind”. It’s a nice mantra.
The final song, ‘Make A Ring’, is a deeply magical and very mystical ode to all things of circular mystery – stone formations, crop circles, memory, any spinning vinyl record, and perhaps, time itself. The tune evokes fire and its reflective flame. And Lorna’s (almost) religious recitation touches a deep and very final British voiced artistic mystery.
True, in the words of Emily Dickinson, this music “shivers” and it knows “no haste”. But, to get even more literary, like Robert Frost’s “woods”, it is “lovely dark, and deep”. And that’s a really decent thing to say about any very modern folk record, that even after all these years, like Emily’s poem, knows that “Tippet and “Tulle”, when buffeted against the obvious cold, are the woven words of a pretty great and always acoustic guitar-laced album filled with an endless, and quite lovely, set of folk music tunes.
Artists’ website: https://flyyetifly.com/
‘Entwined’ – official video: