~ Some of the UK’s finest folk artists release CD for WW1 centenary ~
Featuring Jon Boden, Bella Hardy, Josienne Clarke, Gilmore & Roberts, The Young‘Uns, Michael J. Tinker, Ian Stephenson, Tom Oakes
Some of the UK’s finest folk artists have formed a collective to release an autumn album marking the WW1 centenary and unlocking myriad muted voices of that time.
Songs for the Voiceless, to be released in October, will also be toured as a live show in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday. It brings together some of the brightest British roots talents, BBC award winners and nominees, including Bellowhead frontman Jon Boden and newly crowned 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Folk Singer of the Year, Bella Hardy.
The brainchild of Sheffield musician Michael J. Tinker, of the Bright Season trio, it also features 2013 Folk Awards Best Duo nominees Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts, elegant songstress Josienne Clarke, Ian Stephenson (KAN, 422, Baltic Crossing), Tom Oakes ( Ross Couper and Tom Oakes) and Hartlepool’s popular The Young ‘Uns (Sean Cooney, David Eagle, Michael Hughes.) Says Michael:
“There are so many untold stories of individuals caught up in the First World War – we set out to pool ideas and make a meaningful album of new music that gives just a few of those people a voice. Of course there are lots of opinions about the war – was it glorious, were men killed for nothing, were the generals idiots, was it a disaster? Whatever the outcome of the war and the diverse opinions what matters is what happened to everyday people. “
In the skilled hands of top folk music producer Andy Bell, the end result is nine poignant original narrative songs and a bonus track, from the perspective of both soldiers and civilians, set in locations from English villages to the trenches.
Inspired by poems, diaries, memoirs and books, the songs finally give a voice to the unheard- be it a woman hearing the news every mother dreads to a scared sniper approaching the enemy line to the left-behind lover or the nurse tending the wounded – “everyman” stories from a period of history that impacted the lives of so many.
There’s the song of the Hartlepool-born headmaster who left his Leicestershire village school to head home to enlist with a prayer book from his pupils in his pocket ; the song about a fake tree where British soldiers eavesdropped on German battle plans, one about a Somme victim from the staff of Cornwall’s now famous Gardens of Heligan and another inspired by one of the most famous icons for the British in the Great War – the gilded Madonna statue atop the basilica in the Picardy town of Albert.
The album release will be supported by a five day tour starting at Bury Met on Wednesday, November 5 followed by a London date at Kings Place, shows in two cathedral cities (Winchester and Salisbury) and Chatham’s Brook Theatre in Kent. The tour finale at the Salisbury Arts Centre will be on Remembrance Sunday.
Due to other commitments, the touring band will see BBC award-winning fiddle singer Jackie Oates replace Josienne Clarke while Matt Downer (bassist with Jamie Smith’s Mabon) will step in for Ian Stephenson at some gigs.
Certain to resonate far and wide Songs for the Voiceless tells the WW1 stories of individuals from diverse walks of life but all bonded by shared emotions and empathy, brought to life in imaginative, fascinating and poignant new folk songs. With all proceeds going to The Poppy Appeal the album will be released on the Haystack Records label and distributed by Proper Music.