FOLKLAW – The Tales That They Tell (Own Label)

After releasing his debut album, Nation’s Pride, under the name Folklaw, Nick Gibbs has now put together a full band to go with that name and progress to a second CD. The line-up comprises guitarists Bryn Williams and Lyndon Webb with Gaz Hunt and, on loan from ColvinQuarmby, Marty Fitzgibbon on backing vocals and percussion. Their sound is light enough for small venues with Gibbs’ fiddle and Webb’s mandolin providing lead lines but also robust enough for festival gigs.

All bar one of the songs are by Nick and most address social concerns, sometimes on a grand scale like ‘Bethlehem’ which considers the Israel-Palestine conflict particularly in times of the fragile ‘peace’ which is the usual state of affairs. ‘Hope And Glory’ is an apology for the years of slavery and other songs consider the flooding caused by ill-planned building and the loss of horse chestnut trees to a virus which, as with sudden oak death and ash die back, we seem powerless to defeat.

As a songwriter Nick wears his heart on his sleeve and his more personal songs like ‘Gypsy Rain’ and ‘Seeds Of Freedom’ stand out from the crowd. If he has a fault, it is that occasionally he overwrites a song – you can almost see him squeezing one more thought into a lyric when perhaps its omission would improve its flow. It’s a minor point, however, and doesn’t detract from a fine album.

Dai Jeffries

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